Tainted medication kills at least 6 in southern Mexico

Villahermosa, Mexico, Mar 13 (efe-epa).- A distraught Inocente Hernandez clutches an empty coffin with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe at the funeral of his wife Marina, who died after being administered a bacteria-tainted anti-clotting medication at a hospital in the southeastern state of Tabasco.

The 49-year-old Marina is one of six people who have perished after receiving a dose of sodium heparin in late February as part of their hemodialysis treatment at that facility run by Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

Hernandez said his family purchased the medication at a pharmacy but that it was switched at the hospital for a different “adulterated” drug.

The retired former Pemex employee said his wife died “because of the negligence of the doctors … I want the law applied to those responsible and for them to bring my partner back alive!”

“It’s the worst death that can happen to a human being because you see that person becoming weaker every day as a result of this infected medication,” Rosalba Sanchez, Marina’s sister, added.

Funeral services were held Thursday for two of the victims, and their relatives confirmed that they have already filed medical malpractice lawsuits against authorities at that regional Pemex hospital.

Later that night, Pemex announced that a sixth victim had died. The company also said that 33 people are being treated in an outpatient setting and 19 others at a hospital, two of whom are in intensive care.

Guadalupe Garcia, whose father Valdemar – a retired former Pemex employee – also died under similar circumstances, said she objects to the findings of an autopsy carried out by the Tabasco state Attorney General’s Office.

“It says there he died of natural causes provoked by his illness. But they don’t mention that it was due to negligence,” she told Efe.

Different family members and patients contacted by Efe have referred to that medical center in Tabasco as “the hospital of death.”

The tragedy has unfolded in the home state of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who says an investigation is currently under way. EFE-EPA


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