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According to Dr. Nguyen Trung Nguyen, director of the poison control center of Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, the hospital has admitted six patients severely affected with tin poisoning, including the deceased. All cases had a 40-fold higher than the permitted tin level in blood.
It is reported by VNExpress that the deceased and five other coworkers were working at the recycled plastic fertilizer division of a curtain manufacturing company in Thanh Mien District, Hai Duong Province.
Before starting work at the company, all of them were in good health conditions. However, very soon, from four days to a month, the workers shared the same symptoms such as psychosis, especially memory loss, confusion, agitation, and abnormal behavior.
The dead man, 35, was hospitalized on July 9 with all the above-mentioned symptoms. He fell into a coma soon after and died. Specific details of the death, including when it happened, were not unveiled.
|A doctor checks a man suffering tin poisoning at the Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, August 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Mai Thanh.|
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan showed the deceased’s brain had suffered from diffuse white matter injury, metabolic acidosis, and severe hypokalemia (abnormally low potassium content in the blood). Initially, his family suspected he was suffering from mental problems as his father just died and he’d had some problems with a personal relationship.
His relatives told doctors that some of his colleagues had also experienced similar symptoms, so doctors advised the workers brought to the hospital for urgent examination.
A 42-year-old worker was later hospitalized in an abnormal mental state, showing symptoms of dementia, driving, and meandering aimlessly around the village. Test results showed serious blood disorders.
Nguyen said that doctors at the hospital researched medical information, consulted experts, and international colleagues as they tried to diagnose the problem. Under the support from the Institute of Chemistry under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, the patient was tested for tin metal and had a tin level in blood at more than 200 micrograms per liter, 40 times more than the threshold.
|A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan showed the deceased’s brain had suffered from diffuse white matter injury Photo: Dan Tri|
The patient was put on a regimen of dialysis and tin detoxification. After a week of intensive treatment, his condition has improved and memory gradually recovered.
Blood samples of the 35-year-old dead patient showed tin concentration is 50 times higher than the safe level.
Notably, among the six cases, some did not show typical symptoms, but tests showed severe hypokalemia, metabolic acidosis, or brain damage, and the concentration of tin in the blood is significantly high.
Doctor Nguyen said the patients were poisoned with organic tin compound. Tin exists as metallic atom, including inorganic and organic tin compounds. Metallic tin and inorganic tin are essentially non-toxic.
The Hai Duong General Hospital and the province’s Center for Disease Control have announced that among 15 people who have had their health checked, eight have shown symptoms of tinnitus and hearing loss, and six have hypokalemia. They have been asked to be hospitalized for further evaluation and treatment, but no one has done so to date, worrying health professionals about the risk of tin poisoning, added VNexpress.
Organic tin compounds are highly toxic and easily absorbed via the skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. They are used as a plastic and heat stabilizer.
There is no treatment regimen for tin poisoning in the world and in Vietnam. Therefore, treatment is difficult, doctors have to treat and follow closely to evaluate and adjust to limit the risk of brain damage.
Tin poisoning is a new environmental occupational health problem in Vietnam and affects workers. In Vietnam, this is probably the first case in the country to be discovered. In the world, a few cases were reported, informed Nhip Cau Dau Tu.
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