May 30 (UPI) -- Seven people died in a hospital in Vietnam while undergoing hemodialysis, while at least 11 others were critically ill after receiving treatment for their kidneys.
The incident, one of the worst in Vietnam's medical history, was being investigated by local authorities, but Facebook posts on the matter are being removed, the BBC reported Tuesday.
The patients died Monday while receiving routine hemodialysis for chronic kidney disease at Hoa Binh General Hospital, according to VN Express.
The patients who were rushed to the hospital's emergency room, then died shortly afterward, may have had an acute allergic reaction in the course of treatment.
The hospital called up all its staff units to save the patients, said hospital director Truong Quy Duong.
"I would like to apologize to families and the whole community; we are very surprised at this rare incident," Truong told state media.
"We have instructed the hospital to continue treating the victims and to investigate the cause of the incident, but this takes time," said Tran Quang Khanh of Hoa Binh's health department.
Patients reported feeling sick and breathless while undergoing hemodialysis, according to the BBC.
Hemodialysis is a therapy that filters waste, removes extra fluid and balances electrolytes.
The treatment removes blood from the body, typically about 1 pint at a time, which is then filtered through an artificial membrane called a dialyzer, a man-made kidney, before the filtered blood is returned.
In March 2017, two Australia-based medical researchers concluded "dangerous practices" were responsible for a large outbreak of hepatitis C infection at a hemodialysis unit in Vietnam.
The findings, made public in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases, found hand hygiene compliance rates were low and nurses reused gloves with multiple patients.