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AUBMC denies wrongdoing in patient deaths
File - People stand in front of the American University of Beirut Medical Center, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
File - People stand in front of the American University of Beirut Medical Center, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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BEIRUT: Two patients who died suddenly in late October at the American University of Beirut Medical Center passed away due to natural causes, the hospital said in a statement, which also denied that medical error or negligence were to blame for the deaths.

MTV, a local television station, reported in November that two patients died “suspiciously” at the Beirut hospital a day after the man and the woman underwent surgeries and were not in critical condition. The channel also said that one of the nurses might have had a role in the deaths of the two patients.

But the AUB Medical Center said that a comprehensive review of the two deaths was completed, and according to the autopsy “there is no evidence to suggest intentional death.”

AUBMC director Adnan Tahir said in the statement that the hospital had requested an investigation by the Lebanese Order of Physicians, under the guidance of the Health Ministry.

The report concluded that the deaths were a result of “natural causes,” his statement said.

The report also concluded that there was no medical error or negligence in both cases.

The center said that it had conducted its own internal review that was consistent with the Order of Physicians investigation, and showed the patients did not suffer a viral or bacterial infection that caused their deaths.

It said that an internal task force reviewed the two incidents, and the autopsy results were produced by international laboratories.

The results were reviewed by an independent committee including members of the Order of Physicians and the Syndicate of Private Hospitals.

“The results and findings have been shared with the families of both patients,” said Tahir, who is also AUBMC’s Chief Medical Officer. “AUBMC extends its condolences to the families and thanks them for their strength and patience during this trying time.”

MTV had identified one of the dead patients as Michel Aql, while the woman was identified by her last name, Hdouri.

In its statement in November, AUBMC said the media report was inaccurate, adding that the hospital would share the results of the autopsy reports after receiving the approval of the patients’ families.

The hospital also denied media reports about a third patient who also died in the same week.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 21, 2013, on page 3.
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