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Toxic gas used as anesthesia in Gaza hospital

May 23, 2013 8:13 P.M. (Updated: May 25, 2013 8:33 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Anesthesiologists in Gaza hospitals confirmed Wednesday that a nitrous oxide canister, bought from Israel, contained carbon monoxide and was used mistakenly.

Gaza minister of health Mufeed Mukhallalati says medics at al-Shifa Hospital had an “unprecedented case which almost killed several patients at the hospital’s main operation room.”

He added that anesthesiologists noticed that the patients’ reaction to the anesthetic gas was very dangerous. Four patients suffered severe cardiac arrest but medics managed to save the patients’ lives.

“We decided to stop all surgeries Wednesday” as a precaution, he said.

The minister added that a special committee was appointed to probe the case. Initial findings show that gas in the canister used for anesthetization was carbon monoxide instead of nitrous oxide. Carbon Monoxide is toxic to humans.

“In Gaza, we are not allowed to produce nitrous dioxide or import it except via Israel, so we are investigating how the anesthetic gas was replaced with carbon monoxide,” al-Mukhallalati said. He highlighted that his ministry notified the Red Cross and the World Health Organization about the incident.

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