Police investigate tragic death of expectant mother after hospital drink mix-up

Orlová hospital, photo: Andrea Čánová

Police are investigating the shocking death of a pregnant woman shortly after a routine test at a clinic in the eastern town of Orlová on Wednesday. The woman, who was 32, appears to have died after being given disinfectant instead of a glucose drink.

Orlová hospital,  photo: Andrea Čánová
Police in the Karviná district in Silesia have launched an investigation into a case in the town of Orlová in which a pregnant woman was found without signs of life in her apartment at 9 AM on Wednesday shortly after a routine medical procedure.

Few details have been released surrounding the case, which is centred on a diabetes clinic located at Orlová’s local hospital.

It appears that the deceased, who was 32, and another woman had gone into the clinic for examinations on Wednesday morning. They were meant to be given a glucose tolerance test to check for gestational diabetes.

However, a spokesperson for the local police force said that there had been a “tragic mix-up” of glucose and another liquid. While no official statement has been released, press reports suggest that the pair ingested disinfectant.

The mix-up was discovered a short while later but the two patients had gone home. The clinic phoned the police who found one of the women in a state of unconsciousness at her flat. However, they failed to revive her and she died soon afterwards. The second woman was not adversely affected by the liquid and was released after a check-up.

Petr Svoboda is the spokesman for the police in Ostrava:

“Today the death of a woman born in 1982 occurred in circumstances that are as yet unclear. All circumstances surrounding the death are currently being investigated intensively. We will not release any further information at this time.”

Illustrative photo: Barbora Kmentová
A spokeswoman for Orlová hospital, Radmila Fleischerová, distanced the institution from the tragic incident:

“The outpatients department in question does not belong to our hospital. It is merely a space owned by the hospital that is rented out to a private company.”

The police announced on Thursday morning that they were treating the case as negligent death, a crime that carries a sentence of up to six years in prison.

In a similar case five years ago, a 17-year-old long-term patient at Prague’s Na Bulovce hospital died after being mistakenly given a lethal infusion of potassium chloride. The nurse responsible was given a three-year suspended sentence and the victim’s family received financial compensation totalling almost CZK 2 million.