Defendants at the appeal trial on June 19 (Photo: VNA)

Hoa Binh (VNA) - The People’s Court of Hoa Binh province on June 19 announced it has reduced the jail term given to five defendants involved in the fatal medical incident that killed nine patients at the Hoa Binh General Hospital two years ago.

Hoang Cong Luong, a former doctor at the Hoa Binh General Hospital, had his sentenced reduced to 30 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

Tran Van Thang, former head of the hospital’s medical material and equipment division; Truong Quy Duong, former director of the hospital; Hoang Dinh Khieu, former deputy director of the hospital, saw their sentences reduced to 30 months for lacking responsibility and causing serious consequences.

Do Anh Tuan, director of the Thien Son Pharmacy JSC, was given 24 month suspended sentence for the same charge.

Among the defendants, Duong, former director of the Hoa Binh General Hospital, had his appeal rejected, maintaining the original sentence.  

The Hoa Binh General Hospital and Thien Son JSC were ordered to pay more than 1.6 billion VND (69,000 USD) and 700 million VND (30,100 USD) to the victims’ families respectively.

At the first-instance trial, the People’s Court of Hoa Binh city handed down sentences to the seven defendants after the medical incident on May 29, 2017.

Luong was sentenced to 42 months on charges of involuntary manslaughter. Thang and Khieu were sentenced 36 months in jail, Duong 30 months and Tuan 30 months for lacking responsibility, causing serious consequences.

The five defendants appealed against the verdict, asking to have suspended sentences.

Defendants Bui Manh Quoc, director of the Tram Anh Water Treatment Company, and Tran Van Son, who worked at the hospital’s medical material and equipment division, were given 42 months.

Speaking at the appeal hearing, the court heard Luong was from an ethnic minority whose family devoted their services to the revolution, had good character and was a professional doctor at the hospital.  

When the incident happened, Luong admitted his negligence and tried to treat the patients after the error.

The court said Thang failed to take his responsibility in advising the hospital’s managers to issue regulations on the management and use of medical devices, including the reverse osmosis filter system.

Thang as well as Khieu, had good character and had done well in their professional careers.

The court noted the jail term of 30 months for Tuan, who was responsible for cleaning the water filter system for the hospital's dialysis machines, was too strict. The defendant had his sentence suspended by the appeal court.

Duong, as a leader of the hospital, had neglected his tasks which led to serious violations. The court kept the sentence unchanged.

On May 29, 2017, 18 kidney patients experienced symptoms such as anaphylactic shock, breathing difficulties, sudden drops in blood pressure, stomach aches and vomiting while receiving kidney dialysis at the dialysis division at Hoa Binh General Hospital’s Department of Intensive Care. Nine patients died.

According to authorities, tainted water for kidney dialysis and poorly operated equipment were the causes of the incident.-VNA