Hospital’s ‘disappearing’ drugs mystery

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Photo: Joanbanjo
DOCTOR PESET: Teaching hospital in Valencia City

ANAESTHETICS and drugs used during operations disappeared for years from the pharmacy of a Valencia City hospital.

The shortfall at the Doctor Peset teaching hospital was so conspicuous that Health department inspectors alerted the Public Prosecution’s anti-drug section to the need for an in-depth investigation.

“A considerable quantity of opiates were dispensed without therapeutic justification or a personalised doctor’s prescription as required by standard practice,” the inspectors reported.

Investigators have now spent months trying to discover who took thousands of doses of fentanyl, pethidine and morphine dispensed for the anaesthetics and recovery department and why they were taken.  

Over the last few weeks a Valencia City court has been taking statements from those in charge of the hospital departments involved.

According to sources quoted in the national daily El Mundo they put the disappearances down to defective record-keeping and labelling.

“A considerable number of documents do not correspond to actual prescriptions,” investigators found.  Double prescriptions, missing prescriptions and in some cases prescriptions with very high doses were incorrectly dated, making the mystery still harder to unravel.
Many were not administered to patients and added together they exceeded the pharmacy’s stock of opiates.

One line of enquiry believes there could be a connection between the missing drugs and the death of a hospital doctor.  He was under investigation for “drug abuse” and committed suicide in 2014.

Asked to comment by El Mundo the hospital said it preferred not to make declarations until the enquiry was over.

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