Initial DOH probe says: Vaccine did not kill babies

Initial DOH probe says: Vaccine did not kill babies

(The Freeman) - November 15, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines — Initial investigation did not see any link between the death of two babies in Pajac, Lapu-Lapu City and the pentavalent vaccine they received from the barangay health center.

“The conclusion arrived at after the discussion is that the cause of death of both patients could not have been the immunizations that were given… As per initial evaluation, again, this could not have been vaccine-related deaths,” said Department of Health (DOH) - 7 Director Jaime Bernadas yesterday.

He made the statement following a closed-door meeting with the program managers and officials of the Lapu-Lapu City Health Office and the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center where the babies were brought to and passed away last November 11.

Families of three-month-old Ghirvaughn Limpangog and four-month-old Ayesha Suson have blamed the vaccine as the cause of death, as the babies’ health reportedly worsened after immunization.

Lapu-Lapu City Health officer, Dr. Rodolfo Berame, said that if the vaccines (Oral Polio Vaccine and Pentavalent Vaccine) were the cause, the adverse effects would have manifested after the first immunization.

The immunization last November 8 was the second.

VSMMC chief of hospital Dr. Gerardo Aquino also said the cause of death of the two infants “cannot be attributed to the immunization.”

Dr. Ramon Najarro, chair of VSMMC’s Department of Pediatrics, said Ayesha was suffering from severe dehydration when admitted to VSMMC. Initially, she was diagnosed with moderate dehydration at a hospital in Lapu-Lapu City.

“To the point that the patient was already in Hypovolemic Shock or circulatory failure. Immediately, the patient was put into fluid resuscitation. Unfortunately, the patient eventually deteriorated and was put in life support including mechanical ventilator,” Najarro said.

At VSMMC, Ayesha was diagnosed of “Pneumonia, Very Severe and Hypovolemic Shock AGE (acute gastroentritis) with severe dehydration.

Despite efforts, he said, the child’s condition continued to deteriorate until the patient died of final diagnoses of “electrolyte imbalance secondary to AGE with severe dehydration; Hypovolemic Shock secondary to AGE with severe dehydration; and community acquired pneumonia.”

“We believed the second patient also was already in multiple organ failure besides the circulatory failure,” Najarro said, referring to Ghirvaughn.

The child had suffered from fever and developed seizures. When he was brought to a hospital in Lapu-Lapu, he was given antibiotics and other medications to control the seizure.

“His condition was probably in a very bad condition so they had to intubate the patient,” he said.

If this procedure was done, the patient was already in respiratory failure, which was why a tube had to be placed inside the body to protect the airway and to provide air to the lungs. This, essentially, provides life support, he explained.

Ghirvaughn was subsequently referred to VSMMC.

“In other words, his seizure was not adequately controlled and since this needed more invasive procedures including seizure control,” Najarro said.

He said that if a patient experiences seizure, this may have something to do with infection in the brain.

He said it may be possible that the patient acquired infection, which was triggered by the immunization.

“Old vaccines before manifest seizure as adverse effect but we are now using modern vaccines… the same vaccine used in private hospitals,” he said.

The admitting diagnoses of Ghirvaughn was “Status Epilepticus probably secondary to Bacterial Meningitis” while the final diagnoses to his death was “Status Epilepticus; and Meningitis (unspecified).”

Probe continues

But the inquiry does not stop there.

Bernadas said the Regional Adverse Effects following Immunization Committee, the five-man special body, including three private practitioners, from different fields of expertise will be reconvened so it can look into the case.

“This will be a collaborative investigation based on the data given today. Based on the findings from our physicians in the hospital today from the data of our resident officer from Lapu-Lapu City, will also be collaborated with whatever laboratory and clinical examinations that they will require later,” he said.

The committee is the one that reviews all the operations of the national Immunization Program of DOH.

“We are not closing the case. We forward the matter to the committee… They will determine in finality if what really has been the cause of the death of the patients,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also said it will assist the families of the babies should they file a complaint.

The families of the two children are now considering an autopsy if only to achieve justice.

“Amo lang ipaubos sa autopsy kay gi-advise man sa ako brother aron ma-klaro ang resulta ug mahatagan ug hustisya akong apo,” said Ghirvaugh’s grandfather yesterday.

Ayesha’s mother, Len-len, said the same thing.

“Amo ipa-autopsy bisan ilubong siya karon ug buksan pagbalik aron lang makab-ot namo ang hustisya sa iyang kamatayon nga hangtod karon wala pa namo madawat,” she said.

Yesterday, Ghirvaugh was laid to rest at the Humay-Humay Cemetery in Lapu-Lapu City.

He was supposed to be baptized on Sunday.

His mother, Gian, had a difficult time letting go, coaxing her dead baby to wake up.

“By (baby), mata na by oy… sakita by oy, na wala na ka… mata na dira by oy,” she said in between tears.

Ayesha will be laid to rest at the same cemetery today.

Not suspended

Yesterday, DOH said the immunization program will not be suspended.

“We continue the immunization since we have not observed any direct reason that the immunization has caused the death of the children,” he said.  (FREEMAN)

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