A 17-YEAR-OLD teenager was feeling unwell recently and decided to browse the Internet when she came across a pop-up medical consultation service at a hospital in Shaanxi province.
Without her parents knowledge, the teenager, identified as Lu, sought the service of an online doctor said to be working at the hospital.
Local media reported the “doctor” persuaded her to visit the hospital for further medical examination. She brought her classmate to accompany her to the hospital on Oct 4.
After a series of check-ups, she was rushed into the operating theatre where demands were made for her to sign a consent letter for the removal of a cervical polyp by a doctor, identified only as Dr Cao.
She was also asked to pay for the surgery but when she could only give 1,200 yuan (RM780), the hospital told her it was insufficient.
The doctor said that she was in critical condition and needed to undergo the surgery as soon as possible because she was bleeding severely.
“Dr Cao asked my girl to borrow money from her friends or an online credit company,” alleged the girl’s mother, who was informed of the incident by the classmate.
The mother, who only wished to be known as Xu, rushed to the hospital.
She told local media that the doctor had stopped her daughter from calling the family, persuaded her to borrow money for the surgery and carried out the operation on a juvenile without the parents’ consent.
Xu later sent her daughter for a follow-up examination at a government hospital only to be informed that there was no growth.
The teenager’s bizarre experience was shared online by a netizen whose identity remained unknown.
A probe was then carried out and local health authorities later confirmed that a surgery was conducted on the girl based on Dr Cao’s diagnosis of a cervical polyp.
The mother’s claim that her daughter had no medical problems could not be ascertained as the second examination at a government hospital was conducted on other parts of Lu’s body instead.
The health authorities also stated in its statement that they, however, found some flaws with the hospital management including providing inadequate information to patients and its doctors having poor ethical standards.
It then issued a suspension order to the hospital for rectification.
The doctor in question, Dr Cao, had been ordered to stop practising medicine. The hospital director has also resigned.
The statement also said Lu and her parents have reached a consensus with the hospital over the dispute. The hospital reportedly paid a compensation of 35,000 yuan (RM22,600) to the family.
Netizens had urged the parents against settling the case quickly.
“This is not just about your daughter. If this problem is not dealt with seriously, the same may happen to other people in the future,” said netizen Shipei.
“Human life cannot be bought with money,” said another Internet user.
Netizens have called for tighter regulations on medical institutions and stringent actions against those who violated the laws.
Some of them have also questioned the investigation process, saying the health authorities did not reveal if the girl had a cervical polyp and that the surgery was necessary.
“This should be the focus of the investigation and to confirm if the teenager was really sick,” said netizen Shuiyue.
The public felt that hospitals should put saving lives and concern for patients’ health before profit.
According to ifeng.com, the hospital was involved in a medical malpractice that resulted in the disability of a patient in 2018.
It claimed that the hospital had changed its name three times since it was set up in 2011.
The hospital has also been penalised under the advertising regulations for marketing hospital products that did not match the descriptions.
Last year, it was fined 10,000 yuan (RM6,460) and had its equipment confiscated under the Regulations for the Supervision and Administration of Medical Devices.