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Mexico Lawyers Eye Hospital Deaths

March 14, 2000

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) _ Prosecutors in Mexico were looking into the deaths of five hospital patients _ including two infants and a teen-ager _ that might have been caused by mislabeled gas bottles, a newspaper reported.

The Publico reported Monday that State Prosecutor Ismael Rodriguez Avelar said investigators believe five bottles of carbon dioxide were mislabeled as oxygen at the Regional Hospital in Puerto Vallarta, a popular tourist resort on Mexico’s central Pacific coast.

Officials identified the victims as 2-month-old Esmeralda Cortez Gonzalez, 3-month-old Norberto Damian Muniz Urena, 16-year-old Aida Carrillo Rubio, 65-year-old Esther Valencia Campos and Apolinar Bravo, whose age was not released.

The newspaper said a maintenance worker at the hospital had been detained and a physician was being questioned.

Publico reported that doctors from the state health agency also had gone to Puerto Vallarta to investigate the deaths.

Rodriguez said the attorney general’s office has barred the hospital from dispensing oxygen until the investigation is completed.

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