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Hospital probed over high charges
By Cai Cai (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-15 06:10

GUANGZHOU: A department head at Shenzhen People's Hospital has been removed from his post after being blamed for helping to collect huge extra medical fees from a patient, local media reported yesterday.

The patient, Chu Shaoxia, died earlier this year in the hospital. His family had paid fees of more than 1.2 million yuan (US$150,000) to the hospital for his four-month stay.

His wife, Xie Binwu, claimed Chu had undergone some unnecessary courses of treatment during his time there and that some expenses were even made up after he had died.

Peng Bao, the chief of the blood disease section, has now been forced out of the post after he was ruled to have played a major role in the case.

Wang Weihong, the head nurse, was found to bear management responsibility, and has been suspended while further investigations take place.

Zhou Hanxin, president of the hospital, the Party secretary and relevant personnel in the hospital's financial and examination departments, have also been fined at least a months wages and been given administrative-related punishments.

According to Guangzhou-based Information Times, Zhou admitted his hospital had made mistakes and collected some extra medical fees in rescuing the patient Chu.

The case has raised concern from both Guangdong provincial and Shenzhen city governments after it was exposed.

A six-person special task force, consisting of officials from Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Public Health, leading doctors and medical experts, has now arrived in Shenzhen People's Hospital for further investigation of the case.

Chu, who was over 70 years old, was taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) at Shenzhen People's Hospital on September 13, 2004, and died of cardiac failure on January 10.

Chu's wife, Xie Binwu, suspected the hospital had collected extra medical fees that were not actually incurred and demanded relevant departments investigate the case.

Xie said some of the medical bills were even printed out after her husband had died and had been transferred to a local funeral parlour.

She also suspected the hospital had conducted too many examinations, given too many medicines and provided wrong types of medical treatment to her husband.

Xie said her husband had received a total of 24 X-ray checks from September 13 to November 4 in 2004, sometimes twice a day.

Chu had taken 140 different kinds of medicines, including 16 antibiotics, when he was in the hospital.

Both Xie and her husband were retired doctors in the southern Chinese metropolis.

Zhang Shousheng, deputy director of Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Public Health, has arrived in Shenzhen to help investigate the case.

Zhang promised to investigate the case to its fullest extent and make the findings public.

An official from Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Public Health said his bureau would further punish the relative personnel if they are found to be responsible in the case.

He urged doctors to comply with their professional ethics and better serve the patients.

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 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.

The initial investigation carried out by the team shows that the hospital had used excessive medical services, including unnecessary treatments and medicines.

(China Daily 12/15/2005 page3)

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