Serious Ill caused by Serious Mistake

I have some friends in Hangzhou, and Yezi was among the most familiar one. When she was a reporter in eTime Weekly in Hangzhou, we had wonderful gather in Shanghai with other editing stuff. It was a night before typhoon hit Shanghai. Everyone got drunk that day. She is that kind of strong and sunny girl. She was the active in blogging events like China Blogger Conference – two girls (the other is Yuanzi) took all the logistic work.

She is going to have a baby in two months. But one day she sent a mail to our group and asked for help. She went to the Zhejiang Women’s Hospital to do regular physical examination. The lab report shows she got a disease called thrombocytopenia – a blood disease for lack of blood platelet.

The first test shows the normal metrics is 100 – 300, and she only got 34. That means it is very dangerous and there is no way she can give birth to a baby (60 is the minimum requirement). The doctor gave her a lot of medicines.

She was so concerned to eat any medicine when she is pregnant. So she try to use all kinds of food that was said to be useful. 10 days later, she wen there for the second time, the lab test result shows 24, even lower.

The doctor complained that why she didn’t take any medicine. With tears, she took them for one week. Then they went to the hospital for the third time. The result for this time is 19.

For this disease, if it is under 20, it means terminally ill, and the doctor said they are going to claim “close to death”. They warned that there will be bleeding in brain or inside body for both the baby and Yezi at any time. When it happens, she will be very dangerous.

When she sent the news to Ideafactorychina (an email alias we are both in), I was shocked. Why this happens to a girl like her.

Then the doctor suggested to either use hormone or Immunoglobulin (It was not easy to for me to find these terms in English). Of cause either of them have negative impact for people, especially for baby. They decided to take Immunoglobulin.

Before of the Zhejiang Hospital did the operation, they found out they don’t have the Immunoglobulin in stock. So she was transferred to another hospital.

She finally prepared to move the patient room full of blood cancer patients – the deadly disease.

In her diary, she said she sent SMS to her friends to say good bye, because she don’t know whether she can walk out of the room. and prepared everything a person may do before death. What a heart breaking feeling it is!

In that hospital, everything changes. The lab test result shows her blood platelet level is 140. Everything is fine. The double check shows 210. She cannot be more healthier with this metrics.

So she get back to the Zhejiang Women’s Hospital. The result there on the same day shows 59.

Yezi was so angry, and talked with the hospital. Finally, the hospital admit that they made a mistake. Well. To be more exact, they made the mistake 4 times and forced a health pregnant woman to take 4 different kinds of medicine, sentenced her to death, and was almost injected something everyone knows harmful into her body.

Happy is Yezi, and angry is Yezi. She wrote her experience in an article and posted Here (English Translation)

I was shocked. However, the sad thing is, this happens so frequently, that I can hardly believe in a hospital. What a terrible world!

I hope Yezi recover soon, not from the so-called deadly blood cancer, she really need to recover the mental hurt, and be back to normal life. Hope she deliver the baby smoothly.

P.S. One detail in Yezi’s story was, when the family members talked about blood transfusion, they were so concerned with the blood in any hospital and decided to accept blood only within family members. This mindset is so normal in current sociaty. Personally, I don’t trust any blood in hospital. News comes after news about AIDS patient donating blood to hospitals, and the blood smoothly pass all the unresponsible checks and then enters hospital, so transfused into healthy people’s body. That is a serious problem

P.S. 2 This just echo another thing I witnessed at the gate of my residential area. Someone was angry, and shouted to several guy who offers service to fix flat tier. I stood there and understood what happend. Many of bicycles or motorcycles passed by got flat tiers. They suspect that these guys are putting nails 200 meters ahead so they can charge high for that. What can I do for that? Last time my car was scratched by a drunk driver. I called police, and police came, but said there is nothing they can do since the driver has run away. I said his car is here, he is working inside the building, and there are 10+ witness there. I said what I wanted to say. They heard everything, then quitely left.

17 Comments

  1. That’s horrible. My friends and family often complain about hospitals exaggerating illnesses just to earn more money through unnecessary visits and prescriptions. Makes me appreciative of American healthcare. Pricey, but accurate.

  2. SUE the crap out of them!

    Huge mistakes like this, for multiple errors and multiple times, only one way to get even. That is to SUE!. su·ing is the only way change to change a big system like hospitals. Simple apologies in this type of egregious mistakes simply will not suffice. The system only changes if you hit them where it hurts. That is in their wallet. If this is in the US that is. Not sure if China allow such lawsuits. Or that China laws may caps the damage awards to make the suing process meaningless. Then this goes back to a society issue. Bottom line, if this happens in the USA, and your friend have all the paper work, reports., exams., ect.. lawyers will be lining up to take her case. Cost of American healthcare is out of control, but at least we don’t have to deal with type of negligence to much, and if it does, people will SUE!

  3. China needs a Patients’ Bill of Rights and pronto. There also needs to be internet dissemination of information about good and bad health care providers.

    You in essence need an Angie’s List of Good Doctors and Hospitals.

  4. People before profits!

    Only if there is some sort of a form of government where people have a collective common ownership of wealth, so that they do not seek to pursue riches at the expense of others…

  5. most of public hospital are sucked. i heard too much medical accident before and had some expereience. As a patient, all we gotta do is to try our best to know the disease,treatment and see more doctors from different hosiptal. I don’t believe the doctors ,cuz most of doctors who are not thoughtful about the patient.

    But recently, i met a rare fabulous doctor in Shanghai, and he did change my mind of a doctor. he showed me that what is real good doctor is. First, he is good human (really care about the patient whatever their social status ), then he must have excellent digonositic and operation skill.

    i feel grateful everyday that i can meet such a nice doctor in China!

    Sadly, there is nothing we can do for the bad hosiptial. Just pray for the God!

    Wish your friend get well and be optimistic.

  6. Hopeless doctor… i found the hospital is here is profit organization not LIFE SAVING… sucks…

  7. This is what happens when the government is powerful and yet disfunctional. China is strangely authoritarian and anarchic at the same time.

  8. i understand and know that this type of activity and event happens in china all too often, actually such circumstances occur more frequently than is reported, blogged or reported.

    i am a western medic working here in china for 4 years. i worked first in changzhou for one year then shanghai for approximately 2 years working in a foreign hospital (which by comparison to what i work with today is like paradice). i then was employed for a short time in the middle east on a short contract. when contract finished i came back to china and married my chinese (wife), and had intention to take up contract offer in middle east, but as circumstances and connections would have it, i ended up being offered a contract to work in a city in zhejiang province at a district level hospital (chinese) in a economic and trade development zone of the city, where i have been employed for the past 1 & 1/2 years.

    i’m well accustomed to the chinese way, in relation to culture, relationships, connections, guanxi and so on. i’m also really familiar and in unique position to see what goes on (as much as a laowai with limited putonghua can) behind the scenes in a chinese hospital and it is scary… the hospital i’m employed by is a level 2a district hospital, so it differs from the highest 3a level city hospital a bit i’m sure, however this hospital is under private ownership, not government which in china is very unique. the hospital still serves holders of the social medical insurance though, so there is still a large amount of government oversight and involvement.

    in terms of medical practice, well there are many things that need to be changed… none of which is easy. chinese people here have a lot to grapple with in the future. guanxi and connections/relationships plays such an important and inseperable part of how things are done, and this is in itself causes some (most) of the problems here -it sounds simple but it is far from it. it affects everything and everyone living and working here, and laowais have little understanding about how and what is done behind the scenes, and i’m not just referring to medicine, hospitals or healthcare.

    one way forward for china is less reliance or indeed use of connections or guanxi. me thinks that this is such an undeniable and inseperable part of the chinese culture and psyche, that to invoke this change is near on impossible anytime soon in the near future. people are offered positions and get favours, based on who they know, not what they know and this is a real downfall especially in relation to employment etc. many positions are held by complete incompetent individuals, and in my experience this is the norm. i work with many…

    notwithstanding the unfortunate and less than ethical medicine that was carried out as detailed in this blog, IMO china is changing but there are some major changes that need to happen if china really expects to make the great leap forward. education is the key, though i fear that social unrest still has a part to play in china’s development and future.

    the huge gap between the middle/upper classes from those of the underclass is increasing exponentially, that no matter what initiatives the government or business takes, it will not have enough of a dramatic impact that reaches far enough.

    this discussion in this blog is but the tip of the “iceberg” -many more instances of imcompetence exist, it surrounds china like a deep prevailing mist which will hinder its navigation on the seas of time for many years to come.

  9. “Cost of American healthcare is out of control, but at least we don’t have to deal with type of negligence to much, and if it does, people will SUE!”

    Um, unfortunately these two facts are not unrelated. Of course you should be able to sue in cases of obvious incompetance like this sad one, but there are a lot of crazy lawsuits too. As a result in America we have fabulous quality healthcare which nobody can afford.

  10. Getting it wrong once is excusable but four times in a row is definitely unacceptable. If she ever finds out the reason behind this debacle please let us know.

    However, a misdiagnosis of thrombocytopaenia is actually not uncommon. The problem is that the blood platelet count can rapidly decrease if the blood sample is not analysed quickly.

    What this does show though is that (as you would in any country) if you receive a significant diagnosis like this, you should always consult a second (or third…) opinion. It never hurts to shop around, even with doctors. Doctors are humans too, and they do make mistakes.

    BTW, I don’t think any country can boast a perfect health system. Each has its own set of problems. Some are better than others but I don’t think anyone can really afford to sneer at China’s system.

    Here in Australia we do have universal health care (which the US does not), but we also have a chronic shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas. We even had to import doctors from the US and one of them who ended up in Queensland has earned the nickname “Doctor Death” :)

  11. I was shocked when I first read it, but then I started to wonder how this is possible: four separate mistakes over a period of a month or so on the same person. This is a quite specialized hospital for women, and the test was not a rare kind. If what was stated were true, a huge number of similar mistakes must have occured on many people as well. Could that have happened? Otherwise, how to explain this tiny chance incident?

    I share the same concerns of the patient, but couldn’t help wondering why this have occured. It could be because Yezi is the only one spoke out.

  12. Oh, My! What an outrageous mistake made by the hospital in Hangzhou! I’m really ashamed about this! You know, I am just from that city.

  13. Here with another terrbile case with one of my great old friend.The old retired couple are suffering a lot dring these months.The wife got sick in last Dec. and went to see the doctor.As usual, the doctor made a prescription, then disaster came, not the prescription,but the pickup, the other doctor picked up the wrong medicines,this mistake maks the patient staying in hospital several months as well as the husband.

    Now the patient is back home recovering, and the hospital wants to pay for the lost of material and mental.The old man thinks they do not close the issue when his wife recovers.

    Now i just believe myself, and pay more attention to such things.

  14. It confirm what I think… Avoid as max as possible Chinese hospital and Chinese doctors.

    My personal statistics: 7 times I had to be treated by Chinese doctors…. Chinese hospital 2 times ok, 2 times bad, one really bad (they gave me exactly what they should not and as a result I had all my body cover with red spot and I need a injection) … foreign hospital in China (Chinese doctors who had study abord) 2 times ok…no problem…. so now I always go there (Ruijing er lu hospital, in the special building for foreigners)

    In France I spent 20 years… and every single time it was really good.

    (by the way, to inform my american friends… France use less of his GDP for health than USA but have a much better healthcare service that everybody can aford… or even free for the poor)

    an example: http://english.martinvarsavsky.net/general/us-vs-french-medical-care-my-personal-experience-.html

    +++

  15. i am agree with the man who say funk to the hospital !

    and as a colleage student ,i probably can not do any more than this!!

  16. This is again another simple reminder to all living here (despite all the publicity glitz & glamour you hear & see from the press): you’re not in Kansas any more! Foreign hospitals & clinics are the way to go if it’s a real emergency & you can afford it. My sympathies go out to people who had to endure the omnipotent state-run bureaucracies prevalent here.

    Sidenote on your last “echo”: Almost the same thing happened to us during a past outing. This time a water truck dented our car while backing up on a side road. The boys-in-blue came to took notes and complained about messing their 休息 (‘rest’). They really didn’t want to get involved. The drivers inadvertantly changed his tune & started blaming us for tailgating him with some undisclosed witness (who happened to pop out of the bushes mysteriously) ‘verifying’ their story . We noted that the truck was employed by the Park management and my partner quipped that she know their boss very well. At that point, the drivers quickly zipped his lips and bowed their heads while their mysterious ‘witness’ disappeared. The cops grinned & concluded that all is settled then & drove off. Oh, the power of 关系 Guanxi!

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