Hep C could have been contributing factor in one death under review, says Medical Review Committee

The Medical Review Committee has found that a hepatitis C virus infection could have been a "contributing factor" for one of the eight patients who had died.
The Medical Review Committee has found that a hepatitis C virus infection could have been a "contributing factor" for one of the eight patients who had died.ST PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN

SINGAPORE-The Medical Review Committee has found that a hepatitis C virus infection could have been a "contributing factor" in the death of one patient whose cause of death was pending.

In a statement on Monday night, the Health Ministry said that the committee chaired by an external senior hepatologist has completed its investigation into the death.

This was one of the eight patients who had died from the earlier identified group of 22 patients who had been infected by the virus at the Singapore General Hospital earlier this year.

At a press conference on Oct 6, the ministry had said that the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) could not be ruled out as a contributory cause for four cases, while three had died from causes that were not linked to the virus, with one case under review.

In Monday's statement, Professor Fong Kok Yong, chairman of the Medical Board, said: "The committee concluded that the patient passed away from end-stage renal disease and pneumonia. While the death was not caused directly by HCV, the committee could not rule out the possibility that HCV infection could have been a contributing factor."

In the meantime, no new cases has been reported.

SGH said that as of 6pm on Monday, 484 out of the 572 patients who have been screened were tested negative for the hepatitis C virus. The results are still pending for the remaining 88 patients.

None of the 294 hospital staff who have been screened also tested positive.

kcarolyn@sph.com.sg