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Hospital accused of shocking mistreatment
By Zhang Feng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-03 06:37

Embarrassment is continuing to pile up for China's troubled hospitals, already facing accusations of high fees and poor management.

In one recently reported case in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, a 74-year-old man died of heart failure at No 2 Hospital attached to Harbin Medical University, after 67 days of treatment which cost the family 5.5 million yuan (US$660,000).

A Ministry of Health team investigating the case has found that the man, Wang Wenhui, had undergone 94 blood transfusions totalling 87,000 millilitres, the equivalent of 174 bottles of water on July 30.

Records showed that despite his lengthy stay in the hospital, which is under the administration of the Ministry of Health, he only received two health tests.

The initial investigation carried out by the team shows that the hospital had used excessive medical services, including unnecessary treatments and medicines, Mao Qun'an, spokesman for the ministry, told China Daily on Friday.

The investigation is continuing.

Due to the high price of medicines and poor medical service, the disputes between hospitals and patients have grown in recent years.

It is widely believed that problems are caused by poor supervision from health authorities, the lack of sufficient medical resources, the unreasonable location of hospitals, and the high price inflation of medication between the factory and the patient.

In China, about 70 per cent of medical resources are located in urban areas, which contain only 30 per cent of the country's population. At least 70 per cent of Chinese people, or rural dwellers, have no medical insurance.

Meanwhile, 10 hospitals in Beijing are being investigated by authorities for posting fake or poor-quality medicines to consumers.

These hospitals, including Beijing Tianzheng Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital and Beijing Jingren Hospital, posted medicines which were either not officially approved, were poor quality, or were self-manufactured, to buyers.

All 34 suspected postal boxes have been shut down.

(China Daily 12/03/2005 page2)

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