Anaesthetics swiped from Hutt Hospital could kill if taken outside clinical setting, DHB warns

Drugs taken from Hutt Hospital's emergency department are dangerous and could be fatal, the district health board says as it urgently appeals for them to be returned.

Man in a hospital bed.

Twenty vials of anaesthetic drugs were taken on Tuesday from a resuscitation bay within the hospital’s emergency department, Hutt Valley DHB said today.

DHB chief medical officer Sisira Jayathissa says the drugs, in liquid form and contained in glass or plastic vials, were taken while staff were attending a patient in the resuscitation bay.

"These drugs are dangerous, and could cause harm or even death if taken outside a clinical setting," Dr Jayathissa said.

"I urge anyone who has these drugs, or comes across them, to immediately hand them in to Hutt Hospital, any New Zealand hospital, or the police," he said.

The drugs are the anaesthetics Propofol and Etomidate, and the muscle relaxant/anaesthetics Rocuronium, Suxamethonium and Tracurium.

A Hutt Valley DHB spokesperson has told 1 NEWS the drugs were close at hand and "not behind any kind of access door or anything"

There are also no security cameras in the resuscitation bay where the drugs were taken, the spokesperson said.

A police spokesperson said the investigation is ongoing "and we have no idea who is behind it at this stage".