Beijing Hospital Patient Dies After Nurse Gives Wrong IV Drip

Head nurse and attending doctor are confirming the drip bottles, recognizing the misuse of medication.

Doctor and patient.

From NetEase:

Beijing Tiantan Hospital Administered Wrong IV Drip, Patient Passed Away

September 3 report: Beijing, August 31, a patient named Wang Huali, a man from Henan who was undergoing intravenous infusion treatment at Tiantan hospital, had a sudden [adverse] reaction when receiving the third bottle of IV drip, and his family was informed that the hospital was unable to rescue him. According to the family members, after handling transfer procedures, they rented a car to take Wang Huali back to his hometown, but while on the way, they discovered that on the drip bottle still hanging on Wang’s body was marked with another patient’s name. They immediately took the dead body back to the hospital to seek an explanation. A representative of Tiantan Hospital Medical Affairs Office admitted to the family members that the third drip used on the patient was a mistake on the part of a nurse at the hospital, but whether the cause of death was caused by the misapplication of medication [in the IV] still needed investigation. [September] 2, a relevant Tiantan Hospital representative claimed that the hospital had begun a self-investigation, and will punish the person responsible on the basis of the results of the investigation and relevant regulations. At present, the hospital and the family members of the deceased are negotiating on the matter of compensation.

Head nurse and attending doctor are confirming the drip bottles, recognizing the misuse of medication.

2013 September 1, the head nurse of the ward where the incident happened and the attending doctor of the deceased confirming the drip bottle and acknowledging that the wrong medication had been administered.

Head nurse and attending doctor are confirming the drip bottles, recognizing the misuse of medication.

According to Wang Huali’s eldest daughter Wang Yun (pseudonym), her father was from Henan Shangqiu, and was 65 years of age. This July 30, he was diagnosed with benign craniopharyngioma. August 19, he had an operation in Tiantan Hospital. “12 days after the operation, my hospitalized father was recovering well.” According to Wang Yun, August 31, he received intravenous infusion therapy as usual. From 8am to around 9:40am. Two bottles of medicine had been infused, and the nurse began changing to the third bottle of medicine.

The misused medicine bottle [left].

“Less than 5 minutes after beginning the infusion (of the third bottle of medicine), I discovered my dad’s right hand turning purple and hurriedly called the doctor.” Wang Yun said that the doctor immediately began emergency rescue efforts. “But soon they told us that because of pulmonary embolism, the patient was unable to be saved.” Picture is of 2013 September 1, the misused medicine bottle (the left bottle).

The misused medicine bottle.

According to Wang Yun, at around 11 am that day [August 31], they rented a car to take [the body of] her father back home. When the car was approaching Baoding, her younger brother by accident discovered that the infusion bottle hanging on his father’s body was labeled with another person’s name: Jiang X. Then the family members took the body back to Tiantan Hospital. [September] 1, at around 3:30pm, on spot No.24 of the Tiantan Hospital morgue, a needle was still inserted into the left thumb of Wang Huali’s body. Two bottles of medicine solution were placed side by side by the lower part of the body. One was labeled glucose injection, and another one was labeled “Bed Number: 26, Name: Jiang X (male)”, with about one-fifth of the liquid remaining. The medicine bottle labeled with “Bed Number: 26” shows that its ingredients included “5% 500ml glucose and sodium chloride injection”, “40mg omeprazole sodium for injection”, “1.5g: 10ml (plastic) potassium chloride injection liquid “,” 10ml: 400iu insulin injection liquid 4iu “. According to Wang Yun, when her father was in the hospital, his bed number was 22. Picture is of 2013 September 1, the misused medicine bottle label not matching the name of the deceased.

The misused medicine bottle.

[September] 1, the head nurse of the ward in which the incident happened and the attending doctor of Tiantan Hospital verified the infusion equipment, the solution, the needle tubing marks, etc. that were still inserted in the left hand of the body of Wang Huali. The head nurse admitted that the infusion equipment, the medicine solution, and the needle tubing the deceased still carried were indeed a mistake by a nurse of their ward. By checking the medication records of that day, it was confirmed that the first two infusion bottles were not incorrect, and only the third one was incorrect. [September] 1, a person in charge at the medical department of Tiantan Hospital surnamed Guo apologized to the family for the hospital’s mistaken misuse of medication. However, she expressed that whether the patient died due to the mistaken medication or not still needed to further determination by the relevant departments. [September] 2, according to a relevant person in charge at the Advocacy Center of Tiantan Hospital, the hospital was resolving the incident through consultation with the family members of the deceased, and an investigation was launched at the same time. The relevant people who are responsible would be punished according to the investigation results and the details were not convenient to be disclosed. According to a relevant person in charge at the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau, [they] were aware of this incident but currently [this incident] is being handled mainly by Tiantan Hospital in consultation with the family members of the deceased and could not comment on the incident. Picture is of the misused bottle label not matching the name of the deceased.

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The dead body.

“I remember the nurse she didn’t scan the bar code at all when changing the medication [IV bottle],” recalled daughter Wang Yun, who had been at the scene the entire time, of the nurse’s inappropriate handling after Wang Huali had a reaction. In response to the suspicions by the family of the deceased, the head nurse involved responded that among the hospital’s nurses’ daily operating procedures, [they] would fulfill the “3 inspections and 7 verifications” system, carefully checking bed numbers, the names, the names on the medicine, the dosage of each medicine, the time, the concentrations, and the methods. According to the head nurse involved, if the above operating procedures are followed, it is impossible for there to be mistakes, and since there was a mistake with the medicine used that day, the nurse on duty may have made a mistake during medicine procedure, but which specific step went wrong needed further investigation.

In the morgue.

Regarding the reason for the patient’s death, the patient’s family members believe that it was caused by the nurse’s administering the wrong medication. “The infusion of the third bottle had only gone on for only less than 5 minutes when [the reaction] happened. It was obviously the effect of the medicine.” According to Wang Yun, after her father’s surgery, the doctor repeatedly warned her not to give her father foods with high sodium, while the medicine that day that her father was wrongly infused with, both the “5% 500ml glucose and sodium chloride injection” and the “40mg omeprazole sodium for injection” contained sodium. According to Wu X, attending doctor of the deceased, the patient died of pulmonary embolism, “only pulmonary embolism can cause the death of a patient in such a short period of time.” He also admitted that when the patient came for treatment, his sodium was indeed high, but he believed that even if the patient had high sodium, to infuse “5% 500ml glucose and sodium chloride injection” would not lead to pulmonary embolism. As for the cause of the pulmonary embolism, he believes it was poor blood circulation due prolonged bed rest following major surgery that led to pulmonary embolism. The specific reason can only be determined through an autopsy.

The ward where the incident happened.

According to a Beijing Times report: Wang Huali “died following unsuccessful attempts to save his life”. Afterward, the family members wanted to follow the custom of his hometown, to “bury him in peace”, did not agree to a cremation and without getting a death certificate, they rented a car transporting the body out of the hospital. According to a doctor surnamed Lv who participated in the efforts to save the patient, the condition of the patient at the time was “couldn’t be saved, though the ventilator was still on”, but the patient hadn’t been declared clinically dead when he was taken from the hospital. “Unable to be rescued and clinical death are two concepts.” “If his clinical death was declared, he could not be taken, and he would be taken to the morgue, so letting you take [the body] away then would be illegal.” In a video of negotiations provided by the family of the deceased, Dr. Lv rebuked. Wang Yun claims the family members ultimately conducted a critical hospital transfer procedure with the hospital. Picture is of 2013 September 1, the ward where the incident happened banning outsiders from entering.

Comments from NetEase:

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媛交部发言人洪磊 [网易山东省青岛市网友]:

I recommend having this kind of nurse transferred to the cadre [government officials] ward.

党说国外都水深火热 [网易湖北省武汉市网友]: (responding to above)

On behalf of only myself, I completely support that.

伏龙尊者 [网易四川省成都市网友]:

To be born mistakenly by policy and to die accidentally is the fate of the lowly people of our kingdom.

网易北京市网友 ip:114.249.*.*:

To be honest, major hospitals are very chaotic when there are a lot of people getting IVs, and the [nurses] there are all interns from all kinds of nursing schools, very clumsy! Although getting an IV is a small thing, it can be a really a big problem if the wrong medicine is infused. When brother [referring to himself] gets an IV, I always check the name carefully, never go to sleep, and watch the changing of the IVs… It really is too chaotic when there are a lot of people getting IVs~~~ And the little nurses don’t have a strong sense of responsibility~

因果报应 [网易北京市网友]:

Getting the wrong IV means two people got the wrong IVs!!! How is the other person???

网易辽宁省鞍山市网友 [名字让人取了]:

It shouldn’t be like this. Even if a big hospital has too many things to do and [doctors and nurses] are too tired, but when it comes to people’s bodies, they should always maintain vigilance. Whether the death is caused by the medicine or not, the fact remains that the wrong medicine was changed and the nurse involved should be held responsible.

网易河北省石家庄市网友 [402689372]: (responding to above)

The nurse, don’t you feel wronged? Think about it, if she was a new intern, she doesn’t get paid but must still work hard as a nurse. In the hospital, they have to put up with the leadership/management, and they dare not leave work early, only able to leave later than others. I know a nurse where it was just like this. In the beginning the hospital didn’t pay her, later on they paid her 800 yuan [per month], and after a while, she just quit entirely.

网易辽宁省鞍山市网友 [名字让人取了]: (responding to above)

She should have been prepared for this after she graduated and chose nursing. Every job’s responsibility is different. You can’t complain just because you feel you’re working hard and are getting paid little, nor can that ever be an excuse for negligence/malpractice! Such a person would be doing everybody a favor by just quitting.

网易江苏省盐城市网友 [wbxsabcd]: (responding to above)

A nurse’s salary is very low. Don’t say “such a person would be doing everybody a favor by just quitting.” Salary determines the staff, so there won’t be very excellent nurses providing you service [when they are paid little].

网易辽宁省网友 [吉尔瓦伦丁]: (responding to above)

This is a job involving life and death. If you [feel] the salary you make is low, you can just not do it [quit], because your faults may result in other people losing their lives.

网易重庆市网友 [维修掏耳勺]: (responding to above)

Truly really ridiculous. So a ls low salary or no salary is a reason for changing the wrong medicine? You don’t have any salary or have a low salary now so that you can have a high salary in the future! I suggest severe punishment [for the nurse involved]!

网易广东省深圳市手机网友 [元亨利贞]: (responding to above)

Stop working as a nurse if you don’t think you are cut out for this job or if you think the salary is low… But since you have taken this job… be responsible… A little bit of error may lead to a person’s death… I don’t think I could do this job.

网易湖南省手机网友 ip:222.246.*.*:

Who knows, maybe it’s a temporary worker yet again.

  • Terrik

    Getting respectable training, respectable salaries and cracking dowe on 红包 would go a long way to fixing this kind of crap. But who am I kidding….if we’re lucky, China won’t wipe us all out with superbugs from their rampant use of antibiotics.

  • lonetrey / Dan

    I guess I just always assumed that even though nurses may have bad attitudes, they are always too properly trained to do something like this.

    A quick search on Google revealed only a few cases like this. To be honest, I didn’t even think this was a possibility before reading this and thinking about it.

    • mr.wiener

      I nearly died in a Chinese hospital because of a dodgy IV. The guy in the bed next to mine [please note: I didn’t say “the guy in the bed next to me”] Saw my saline drip was empty and the air heading down the tube to my arm and started yelling for the nurse. She came barreling in and just ripped that needle out in one action.
      Life is never dull in China.

      • Anonynonymous

        My god, that’s way too fucking close of call!

      • Claude

        Yikes! Luckily the guy seen a few medical shows on TV and recognized a potential killer.

      • Charlie

        Actually you’d need an entire line’s worth of air to go into your bloodstream before it caused you any danger, and that’s not possible with the iv just open to gravity. You are supposed to watch your own IV here though and alert the nurse when your drip is nearly finished.

        -Guest RN

        • mr.wiener

          Good to hear. I was just some doopy tourist who couldn’t speak chinese however so i didn’t know what was happening.

      • chandlerpatrick

        There is a difference between an bottle drip, and an bag drip. The bag drip is a closed system, and if it is prepared properly, there will be no air inside of it at the time of injection. Just like when you get a regular needle. The bag colapses upon itself. No air. A bottle drip is a bit more dangerous, and needs to be monitered more closely. I say all of this bearing in mind that the nurses are up to par, which is the most important thing…
        I almost passed out when I was getting a drip for a sore throat. The bag was dripping on hyper-speed, and fortunately, the guy beside me saw my situation, and called the nurse.
        I think the medicine is fine here, but you need to be monitering these things carefully yourself… I avoid them anyways now…

        • mr.wiener

          This was in China,15 years ago , so a saline drip means a bottle, with air.

          • chandlerpatrick

            And then they took the empty bottle, and filled it up with some beverage to sell outside of the hospital.

          • mr.wiener

            Hmm, I thought I could taste mao tai while I was getting that drip…nom nom nom.

      • lonetrey / Dan

        … I don’t think I ever want to get sick or injured in China now.

        Course, goes without saying that I don’t want to get hurt at all, but Chinese hospitals scares me more than others now.

  • biggj

    Had to be suicide. No other explanation.Mistakes don’t happen in China.

    • Guang Xiang

      you make a promising wumao!!

    • TJDubs

      “And this is why you never let the family keep the corpse. Always cremate it before an autopsy can be done, and find some way to blame the victim for his own death.”

      Incidents like this will not lead to better training of nurses, unfortunately. It will just make hospital admins more careful about covering up their staff’s innumerable inevitable fuck-ups.

    • Aiken

      back off people this guys is ghandi. Hahaha

  • that guy

    nurses are pretty terrible here. had kidney stones in China last year and was in terrible pain, and while I was at the nurse station the ladies couldn’t help but giggle and chat about the foreigner waiting to receive IVs. no professionalism at all

    • Terrik

      I was just in Ruijin hospital in Shanghai for two days for extreme food poisoning. 39.8*C temp, vomitting, diarrhea, the works. I would barely stand. The nurses definitely had a “don’t give a crap” attitude. You almost have to bed them to do their job.

      • Gordon Gogodancer

        I’ve been in a large hospital in that area…i actually believe it was Ruijin hospital that you are mentioning. I went there because i cut my finger…i would have just put some tissue over it until the bleeding stopped but my boss insisted that i go to a hospital to get it checked out. I found myself in a room with people wondering around and a doctor (apparently. You know the ones with the white dirty looking clothes) who seemed like he didn’t give a fuck about a guy bleeding blood all over his floor for 10 min. After He took a quick look decided to put some disinfectant out of a crappy box (with people looking and other people sweeping the floor, collecting crap all over the place or doing whatever they felt like doing) and told me that i should get a shot..i obviously politely told him to fuck off with his shot as i didn’t feel like increasing my chances of actually needing hospital care for a little cut. Of course i had to get in the queue and pay before any of that happened.

        • Terrik

          At the 8th Peoples hospital (第八人民医院) in Shanghai I balked at a 60RMB fee to wrap up my severely cut up hand and was told to my face that I should get charged more for being a foreigner. Got my own damn gauze and disinfectant.

          • my friend got charged 800 RMB for 3 stupid stitches in a hospital in Changchun. He could barely walk since he got wounded in the ankle but they wouldn’t move a finger until he paid… even worse, I’ve got the whole conversation on video.

          • Gordon Gogodancer

            oh those damn foreigners again! :p

          • Kai

            60 RMB isn’t that much to be seen by a doctor and get wrapped up by a professional, especially in Shanghai.

            Under what circumstances did you get registered into the hospital and get to see the doctor? Did you have a Chinese friend? Did they bring their medical card or anything when getting you a number or registering you in? I think foreigners do normally pay higher rates because Chinese citizens get subsidized by the state and thus pay less, something foreigners don’t usually enjoy for obvious reasons like whether or not you pay into the system.

            At least in Shanghai, there’s also a lot of hospitals with departments for foreigners/VIPs where they charge higher rates for more Western-style administration and care. The staff will speak English, it’s less crowded, and the doctors may even be Westerners or trained/worked in the West so it feels more like home for the people who opt for it. Could the person have meant you would’ve been paying more had you opted for that route?

            Just curious because there might be a very mundan explanation for what happened other than random discrimination. And again, 60 RMB doesn’t strike me as that much money for using the hospital’s resources and the time of its staff. Sounds pretty reasonable to me. I know a local who paid 260 to get her broken foot/ankle wrapped in gauze. She had minor fractures from a slip so it wasn’t even a cast, just a wrap.

          • Terrik

            This isn’t the first time I’ve needed a bit of gauze. I’ve never had to spend more than 20. I didn’t bring a chinese friend because I speak it well enough to communicate with hospital staff on my own. 挂号ing to see the doctor cost 14 RMB. After the doctor saw me, I had to go back and pay for the treatment before they would treat my still-bleeding hand. I paid it, went back, asked the nurse why it was 60 RMB, got a snort and was told foreigners must pay more. I thought the whole thing was unprofessional so I got my money back and did it myself.

            On average I get OK to decent service in Shanghai hospitals, but these places scare me. I can’t count how many times over 6 years where I’ve gotten injections where the doctors weren’t wearing gloves, or have their open-top bio waste bin sitting directly next to the place where they’re taking blood, or heck, just blood lying there on the floor, or bloody cotton balls just laying around. I also love how there’s no soap in the bathrooms. If I was sporting western medical insurance, you bet I’d be going to the VIP sections of places like Huashan hospital. Since I don’t, however, the price is prohibitive, because checking in to see the doctor in VIP starts at around 400RMB.

          • radbab

            Huashan VIP section was the worst. Worse than the non VIP section. The consultation of the doc lasted 10 minutes. 9 minutes were spent by him filling out various forms on browsing on the computer. Checking the patient, hearing what happened? Not important as long as they manage to sign you up for the expensive MRI – after all, they need to make some money. Shit place. I never wasted 300 RMB so fast. You get better service at other hospitals in the non VIP section. The doctors are the same anyway.

          • Kai

            I’ve never needed gauze in China so I don’t have any personal experience to go by and will defer to your experience. 60 RMB just didn’t sound like a lot to me and seemed to be within the expected range based on other services I do have personal experience with that I figured are around the same “level”.

            At first, I was thinking of how much getting a gauze wrap might cost in the US but I quickly realized what a shitastic useless comparison that would be.

            The whole pay first before treatment thing is pretty common and expected here in all but the most obvious of immediate life-threatening emergencies. So a bloody hand doesn’t faze them in the least, but don’t get me wrong, I empathize with how that feels cuz I’d also be like “I’m bleeding here, dammit!”

            It sucks that she snorted but I’m still curious about the root reason for why she said foreigners must pay more. I’m still wondering if it’s just an extension of it being cheaper for Chinese citizens cuz of state-subsidized care that doesn’t apply to foreigners or if it’s some sort of unjustified discriminatory con/scam/fleecing you were unfortuante to run into. The latter pisses the hell out of me.

            I’ve been to quite a few Chinese hospitals in Shanghai but rarely for myself. Most recently, I had an aunt-in-law get surgery for breast cancer at the hospital (Ren Ji?) by the Bund. I have cousin-in-laws who work as nurses in other local hospitals as well. The hospitals here don’t really live up to the standards I envision of hospitals back in the US and things do generally feel less, uh, sanitary but I haven’t really noticed the things you listed. Don’t get me wrong, it very well could be that they happened before my eyes but I literally didn’t notice but I like to think I’m quite observant. For example, I’ve definitely looked at those open-top bio-waste bins before. From my most recent experience, I remember soap in the bathrooms (and even individual wireless buttons to signal nurses for emergency help by each and every urinal) as well as those hand sanitizer dispensers as you enter each ward. I can think of better facilities but these didn’t strike me as underwhelming.

            What’s interesting is how much of a fish bowl those of us in Shanghai actually live in. We’re really quite insulated from far worse conditions like those other commenters have described from the hospitals in the places they’re in (for example disregard for second-hand smoke). Shanghai, unsurprisingly, is already a lot better in so many things even if it isn’t always quite at the level we expect from the countries we’re from.

            Thanks for sharing more of your story. Maybe one day when I need gauze, I’ll have a useful point of reference.

          • radbab

            been there too. At least in the VIP section the doc has 10 minutes time for you, not just 5. And the door is closed. ;) Still a terrible place, but not as bad Huashan hospital.

        • linette lee

          Are the doctors over worked? There is shortage of doctors in China? In some state in USA and hk, there are serious shortage of doctors and overcrowded hospitals. Doctors are over worked and working really long hours like 36 hours in a row. They only get few hours of rest in doctor’s room.
          It is a serious issue in Usa about emergency room waiting time, and also the overcrowding issue in most hk hospitals due to many mainland Chinese come down to use hk hospitals. Especially for birthing wards. No rooms and not enough doctors they have to go to emergency room increasing the waiting time for ER. It’s a very serious issue in HK. It’s crazy.

      • Eurotrash

        That’s most Chinese workers, don’t you think?

        • garbo

          And what’s with all the naps? We stop taking those in primary school.

      • radbab

        try the SH East International Medical Center in Pudong. Had Eye surgery there and western docs confirmed they did a great job. I too felt they were very professional. Nurses too were nice and caring – at least at the VIP ward. Won’t go to any other Hospital in SH – I’ve been to a few others, all in PuXi and they all sucked.

    • Gordon Gogodancer

      I know a female doctor intern in Chengdu. She told me that when some kind of operation involved a hot naked female patient, all the young doctors or other male staff would just gather around to check her out….she was quite disgusted when she told me that story (then again i might have done the same thing as these guys….i didn’t tell her that :D )

      • Guang Xiang

        Damn, how did this idea escape me when I was deciding which career to pursue!

      • Aiken

        What? That’s very unprofessional :P

    • Tark

      I live in Sanya, which Is I dunno a 3rd tier city I guess. I Had a
      kidney stone the size of 1.5cm so off I went to the hospital. Here you
      have the choice of the cluttered and chaotic hospitals, which are filthy
      as fuck, or the new 301 PLA hospital (which I went to).
      Modern, doctors with half a clue, no smoking, new equipment. I got blood work,urine sampling, CT Scan, Ultrasound and ESWL (Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy) to break up the stone. All done in one visit, as an outpatient, 2hours, under 1000rmb, easy.

  • JesusFuckingChrist

    Reminds me of the nurse in the States who “mistakenly” threw out a kidney intended for transplant from the patient’s own brother.

  • AngryCanadien

    Medical errors are one of the biggest killers of hospitalized patients. Mistakes are made every day, not only in China, but in the US, Canada and wherever. As much as medical professionals try to prevent such incidents from occurring, it is inevitable that they will happen, especially when you have medical professional working more than 12 hours a day, sometimes 16-24 hour shifts. It’s really quite unfortunate.

    The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) seminal study of preventable medical
    errors estimated as many as 98,000 people die every year at a cost of
    $29 billion. If the Centers for Disease Control were to
    include preventable medical errors as a category, these conclusions
    would make it the sixth leading cause of death in America.

    Further research has confirmed the extent of medical errors. The
    Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that there were 181,000 severe
    injuries attributable to medical negligence in 2003. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement estimates there are 15 million incidents of medical harm each year.
    HealthGrades, the nation’s leading healthcare rating organization,
    found that Medicare patients who experienced a patient-safety incident
    had a one-in-five chance of dying as a result.

  • Atlas

    “At present, the hospital and the family members of the deceased are negotiating on the matter of compensation.”

    At least there is a happy ending!

  • Alex

    “Sorry, no responsaiblities. She is a 临时工”

  • incessant

    What I don’t get is why hospitals in China need to use an IV for everything. Even for non serious conditions. Maybe someone can explain this to me? I remember getting an ear infection and they wanted to give me a 4 day IV regime. I refused. I looked up treatments online, went to the pharmacy and got some antibiotics.

    • donkeykong

      Bonuses from hospitals, and kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies.

    • bprichard

      Mostly to placate their patients. Too many people come in with flus and colds, and there really isn’t much to do about it, so just shove an IV into their arms.

    • krak

      A majority of the IV’s given here are vitamin / saline IV drips, it’s ridiculous to see this here, especially since i come from a medical background. I have thought about this a lot, I don’t know if its the lack of family doctors here in China or the lack of basic medical education among the populous. I have seen friends here go to the hospital for something as simple as a cough on the first day of the coughing.

      Don’t even get me started on the sanitation level of the hospitals here in China…

      • SonofSpermcube

        Are you an American? Because I don’t think anyone but an American considers it necessary as a layman to have a basic medical education. :(

        The IVs and antibiotic overprescription and such is because of perverse incentives in how clinics get paid. Their subsidies are too low and fees too low, they try to make it up through markup on medications.

      • Kai

        If it’s just vitamins and saline in those drips rather than unnecessary antibiotics and other drugs, at least that lessens the fear of the rampant use of IVs in China fostering superbugs…a bit (see donkeykong’s comment below).

        • Terrik

          In some of the drips yes, but doctors here still hand out antibiotics like candy.

          • Kai

            Yeah, I agree. It’s why World War Z starts in China. :D

    • Gordon Gogodancer

      Cause it’s cool mister! It looks like an american TV show!

    • 打针打针!The moment I have a cold for more than a day or two I’m told to go do the whole IV thing. I never have and I’ve always gotten better in nearly the same amount of the time as my friends who have done it. Just give me NyQuil and I’ll float groggily through the entire day!

    • Beijing, Bitch

      Because the patients here think IV shit will help them.

      It’s a placebo thing.

      Fuck chinks.

  • donkeykong,8599,2103733,00.html#ixzz2fmfDyDco

    “Last month, the country’s Ministry of Health revealed that on average each Chinese person consumes 138 g of antibiotics per year — 10 times the amount consumed per capita in the U.S. Meanwhile, three times as many Chinese people are prescribed penicillin compared with the international standard. The Ministry also pointed out that 70% of inpatients at Chinese hospitals received antibiotics; the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum of 30%.”

    “A study called “Patient Knowledge and Antibiotic Abuse,” published earlier this year by a team from China Europe International Business School, Princeton and Peking University, showed that drug sales now account for over 50% of all hospital revenues and antibiotics account for 47% of all drug sales — and that hospitals were allowed to charge a 15% markup on drug sales. They also found that doctors’ incomes were also closely linked to their prescription of certain pharmaceuticals, with both bonuses from their hospitals and kickbacks from companies augmenting their salaries.”

    • MrT

      yea big big problem, i point this out to the locals they just look at me as if i crazy.
      Its still hard to believe for Chinese that foreigners have a fcking clue about anything.

      • Kai

        Depending on which locals, I don’t think they’re looking at you as if you were crazy because it’s hard for them to believe foreigners have a clue, it’s because they don’t have a clue and don’t really care. They’re not surprised by what you as a foreigner or not know, they’re annoyed that you’re challenging something they don’t care to question because everyone else they know does the same thing so it has become some sort of “conventional wisdom”.

        • Nessquick Choco

          Yeah, you got it. As when I was in hospital with my son, and asked “doctor” something, he will avoid loosing face front of others, because he did not discover that possible problem by himself, and instead he admited that is clearly not possible that happen. And not one times happen :( But you know you are right. So you end up paying hundreds for medicine, which actualy have nothing to do with the actual case/problem :-(

  • Angie_Mac77

    I had my first experience in a Chinese hospital a week ago. Food poisoning. I got sent to the IV room where I sat with about 50 people in an “IV lounge”. The oddest part of it was that at least a dozen of the patients were smoking. It’s going to take me a while to adjust to that. Hopefully I don’t have to go to the hospital again.

    • bprichard

      Pro tip: don’t bother going to the hospital. They’re just going to give you an IV, which isn’t going to accomplish much.

      When I went to the hospital, the x-ray technician was smoking. I was impressed.

    • Probotector

      “The oddest part of it was that at least a dozen of the patients were smoking. It’s going to take me a while to adjust to that.”

      So that’s it? That’s all you have to say about it? Smoking in a hospital is one of the worst acts of selfishness and unhygienic behaviour imaginable. People can literally die from passive smoking while undergoing in-patient treatment. I’ve seen it myself and it infuriates me to the core. If I were you, I’d have taken my chances and left the place.

      • Germandude

        Then again, living here for some time and you take that passive smoke with an ignorant smile. If you survive the smog, the food, the traffic, well smoking is just another challenge you won’t fall for ;-)

        Irony aside, I agree with you. I have been to hospital here once in a tier 3 city (visiting someone) at 10 pm and believe it or not, the doctor that was on a kind of “emergency duty” was smoking happily with 2 other guys at the reception. The reception was the first thing in the hallway, followed by the patients rooms. Oh, did I mention that the person I was visiting was laying in one of the rooms on same floor? Oh, and the reason of him being there, you ask? Cancer…

        Here in Shanghai, I have been to hospital once and despite everything being a bit (as in bit with bold letters) cleaner and an actual no-smoking policy, I am happy that I never had to be treated here. I will keep it that way.

      • krak

        one of my friends had a kid here and was just outside the swinging doors of the OB/GYN/MW ( or the hospitals version of it, maternity ward) and a group of people were smoking right outside the swinging doors.

        I have seen mothers holding their babies over trash cans in IV rooms urinating into them. Once saw a toddler pee in a corridor , two hours later it was still there. When speaking with doctors who preform full body scans, windows will be wide open with another building 10m away. People banging or opening doors to the doctors while talking with patients etc etc etc… Some hospitals here are truly chaotic to say the least.

      • garbo

        It’s like being around people from 100 years ago.

        • Eurotrash

          Good description.

    • Gordon Gogodancer

      haha..were they high? That actually could be an interesting experience.

    • nickhz

      i had to get stitches one night, in two different spots on my head… it was 3:00 am and the hospital wasnt busy. i thought it wasnt so bad, until the doctor tried to stitch mu up witout gloves and he was smoking suring the procedure. no anesthetic at all (which isnt that bad) but smoking. i had to get him to put it out before he began. and he looked at me like i was crazy. leaning right over my open wound with a cigarrette dangling from his mouth. CHINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • garbo

        Just crazy.

      • Eurotrash

        100 years.

      • 5,000 years of uncivilization

        Once when i thought i was dying, i was directed to a military hospital in Qingdao where i noticed several doctors smoking inside. The first doctor told me that i must stay in the hospital for an emergency appendix operation or i would die. I didn’t believe him so i got a second opinion from another doctor in the same hospital. Naturally, he told me the same thing the first doctor said. Feeling like i was being lied to, i went home and felt fine an hour later. Food poisoning. Later, i was told by an insider that Chinese hospitals often give their doctors quotas on the operations they perform in order to make more money for the hospitals. Corruption is at every level in China so follow your instincts.

        • Kai

          That’s fucked up. DId they do anything at all to diagnose you before prescribing an appendix operation?!

          • 5,000 years of uncivilization

            Yes, it is and no, they didn’t apart from applying pressure to different parts of my abdominal area. People can be backwards and/or corrupt in China at any level.

          • Kai

            Absolutely agree. It’s pretty demoralizing. I’m glad you escaped that.

          • 5,000 years of uncivilization

            Thanks. I wanted to share it so others will be aware of this kind of scam.

  • Guest

    Besides the medication error, the patient was not supposed to be on bedrest after surgery. They (the nurses and the physician) should have made him walk or do leg exercises to prevent pulmonary embolism if that was the cause of death.

  • 剑胆琴心

    i have never been in hospital after got born, and i am very curious at IV….

    • mr.wiener

      Ivy? She just this girl you know. If you are one of the guys who sleeps with her , you get a condition called Ivy drip.
      Any more questions :)

    • Middle_Kingdum

      Don’t you ever have fevers or catch colds in winter time? Most Chinese girls I know will go to hospital for IV drip when they catch a cold in the winter. But they say they get “injection”.


        God people can be so dumb. Exactly how does getting an IV drip when catching a cold help you? I bet there’s exactly zero scientific evidence showing getting an IV helps someone with a cold but people just do it because everyone else is doing it and they feel they have to do something, anything to make them get better. In reality a cold and flu is a virus that your body needs to fight off. I doubt an IV drip will do any good except make money for the hospital. Chicken soup is better than an IV drip. And yes I know Chinese say don’t eat chicken when sick (another ignorance is bliss belief)

        • linette lee

          I agree. They are really crazy for getting IV drip for every little thing. IT’s not like they are dehydrated or unable to eat by mouth so they need to get some calories through dextrose or TPN. What does IV Normal saline do for your cold? Antibiotics can be given oral so why do you need antibiotic in IV? Are they really that sick they need a starting dose of antibiotic iv? And why they go to hospital for a cold? So strange. Flu that’s virus you don’t need to take antibiotic. Your immune system will take care of it so go eat more protein like chicken. They only want to eat plain soupy rice and not much protein. No wonder they don’t get well.

          • garbo

            Linette is always the voice of reason. That’s a good thing.

          • Ralphrepo

            Recalling the Spanish Flu, or Influenza Pandemic of 1918, which killed between an estimated 50 to 100 million people; even though viral, it was causative of systemic clinical anomalies resulting in widespread death. This occurred when the body’s response to the virus dropped blood pressure to levels so low that the vascular system was no longer supportive of life functions. Patients generally succumbed from shock (ie cardiovascular collapse). In such cases, rapid IV fluid replacement is life saving, whether for bacterial or viral sepsis. While it is true that there is no medication to directly treat the virus itself per se, it is still important to monitor and support a patient as they fight off any disease, because sometimes a body (and a patient) can lose. This is especially so for patients who were previously fragile or in marginal health. Certain viral syndromes can also trigger opportunistic bacterial infections, eg. HIV vis a vis AIDS.

            Thus, getting several days of an IV fluid with electrolyte replacement, or drinking hot electrolyte rich broth made from dead domesticated fowl with liberal amounts of of sodium chloride in solution (ie chicken soup) to recover from illness, is personal choice, IMHO.

            And finally, some patients can tolerate certain antibiotics intravenously, but cannot do so by mouth.

  • mwanafa

    A friend of mine dislocated his ankle on a football match, The other leg was fine, but the doctor insisted that he take x-ray on both legs so he can compare. Compare what? He said “I never treated a foreigner before, so I need an x-ray of the other leg to see what went wrong”.
    And most of the nurses are interns, They have to work for many hours to please the hospital administration. I know one intern nurse, man she works about every day, not a single cent is given to her(In my country interns are paid). Now just imagine she is working there actually, no salary is given to her, how does she pay her bills?

    • garbo

      I broke my ankle in Beijing and went to a hospital that was like going back to the 1940’s only a lot dirtier. It was filthy and the place they made casts was really far from other areas in the hospital. The nurses were acting like they’re in a brothel.

      • mwanafa

        lol, it’s better to befriend a medical student here, I usually call my friends in medical school for treatment.

  • Kevin Yu

    I dont have that much “better” experiences in german hospitals though. And my brother is working for a medical-insurance company and the shit he tells me about hospitals is really bad.

    When I was here in a hospital last time, the nurse didnt care about me having stomach pains. When I visited a friend of my mom, since she had cancer, lying in a hospital in Düsseldorf, the doctor and the nurses were rude as hell. When asked what will happen next they told her they dont know. She should just lie there for 3 more days.

    Its really impressive how much money they get for just 1 day lying there. IIRC it was about 500€ in a hospitalbed, just for lying there…
    Then giving you IV also gives them money. Just checking you gives them money. Even in german hospitals its often not just about treating the sick in the best way possible but they check how they can get the most money out of the patient.

  • Thank God I got out of China right before throwing my health into the dumpster. I miss you china, a whole lot, but I won’t come back until I get at least a single guarantee, of anything.

    • 1 bad-ass pneumonia, like 20 severe food poisonings and 5 lead poisonings, overweight, a thousand breakdowns and skin problems, and the unstoppable coughing for all the time I was there. And that’s without counting how stressful it is to work at a chinese government middle school.

  • garbo

    A big reason I never go to doctors or hospitals in China. It’s like going back in time – one hundred years or more.

  • linette lee

    In China do they have nursing school or just anyone can become nurses with some basic training? In hong kong, to become nurse you have to be graduated from university with an university degree and they go through internship in hospital and training also. Nurses are just as important as doctors. They are part of the whole medical team. They play a crucial role in the health care quality.
    They should also have nursing technicians to work under a nurse Those technicians don’t need university education but just simple basic training. To help out simple things like taking temperature and weight and height. Bring blanket and help patient out of the wheelchair or something. So you don’t have to hire so many nurses if you assign simple work to those nursing technicians and allow the nurses to focus only on the crucial task. Only nurses should administer po drugs and insert lines for iv drip or giving shots.

    • linette lee

      And China you should pay those university nurse well!! Respect them. I notice lots of China Chinese disrespect nurses in Hong Kong and treat them like house maids. Our HK nurses are highly trained and educated University graduated. They are not housemaids. The China Chinese should know that when they come down to use HK hospitals. You know them love coming to HK to give birth legally or illegally.

  • MrT

    This is the risk you take every time you go hospital and have a IV drip for a cold.
    So stupid Chinese people do this every time they ill.
    Never had never will and im far less ill then Chinese people.
    they seem to live in hospital on drips.

    • garbo

      I just wait it out. Usually colds just last a week. Going to get a drip is just stupid. But then again people here seem to be afraid of everything. Plus I was told by a friend here that they wear lots of clothing when it is 20 Degrees Celsius. I said that it’s a great way to get sick getting completely overheated wearing so much clothing when it isn’t even cold outside.

      • MrT

        I self medicate, you can buy anything here from the chemists, cheap as fuck, low risk (mostly)

        What pisses me off is the amount advice Chinese give out about health to foreigners, when they have a illness ratio of 10 to 1 compared to us.

        Also slightest injury or a cough, they start screaming go hospital go hospital. Truly retarded.

        As for the cloths thing, god, winter they get in bed with Eskimo cloths on. right turn off and struggle.
        So now i make sure i got a good electric blanket in operation, sweat them off.

  • C

    Always go too Hong Kong hospitals… In mainland China i was given the wrong medcine 3 times finaly 4 forth time right one..
    But mistakes like these just dont happen in China this happens in USA everyday.

  • Corum

    Probably due to the KCl. Nothing else would have caused the patient to die. And the purple discolouration on the hand was just due to bruising from insertion of the needle probably.

    • Ralphrepo

      One has to also consider this statement:

      “…From 8am to around 9:40am. Two bottles of medicine had been
      infused, and the nurse began changing to the third bottle of medicine…”


      “…with about one-fifth of the liquid remaining.”

      So in essence, the 65 year old patient was in receipt of nearly a liter and a half (~1400 cc), in less than 2 hours, so fluid volume overload itself may have been an issue. Interestingly, the decedent still had a urinary catheter in situ (seen from one of the pictures); that in and of itself isn’t particularly glaring, but two weeks post operatively, to have a urine tube remain in place may point to other unpublished clinical issues with this case.

      Having read a lot of the responses here, I’m especially saddened by the various descriptions on the whole of Chinese health care delivery. In the US (despite driving the country to near bankruptcy), Americans really have it good when it comes to overall medical care; for the rich, and yes, even for the poorest of the poor or indigent. Conversely China, now arguably the richest nation on earth, seems to do rather poorly for it’s citizens in this regard.

  • Claude

    The Japanese have there own hospital in Shanghai and Beijing. Maybe elsewhere?
    If you guys get sick, maybe you can go to them instead. It would have to be better that the Chinese Hospitals, most definitely cleaner. Just don’t expect a double bi-pass.

    • Kai

      Yeah, and there are quite a few “foreign” hospitals or hospitals in general in both cities, geared towards treating foreigners who have different expectations of hospital care than local Chinese. Even some of the local Chinese hospitals have dedicated wings or floors for foreigners. If you have international health insurance, they’re probably among the providers you can go to to get covered care, or you can pay cash, but expect Western (even American) rates.

      • radbab

        definitely American rates at SH EIMC VIP ward. I had a huuuuuuuge room for myself and you could order from Element Fresh every day (yeah, you get sick of that too). Wouldn’t have gotten this in western Europe. I didn’t ask for it and I really don’t care as long as the nurses and docs know what they’re doing – what they did. Shame there’s nothing inbetween, but I guess the hospitals know they can get away with it when dealing with insurances.

  • Butsu

    So how is it in Hong Kong and Taiwan? Is it a huge difference?

  • This happened in Australia a few years back too. A nurse flushed a epidural with cleaner and not saline and the woman who was giving birth is now severely disabled and paralysed and in constant pain….. not surprising having chemical cleaners injected right into your spinal column.

    Now stuff must be in different coloured bottles and anywhere you go in a hospital your DOB is asked by each person for each action to make sure that patients also aren’t mixed up.

  • Don’t Believe the Hype

    My favorite memory of Chinese hospitals was when I was living in a small (by chinese standards) city in Sichuan. I wasn’t going to get any work done, rather I was invited by the hospital to a “party,” which in China means a kind of talent or theatrical show. Anyway it was at the top of the respiratory ward, so imagine walking up a really depressing stair case filled, to the max-including the hallways- with patients of respiratory issues- mainly from smoking of course. Well my favorite part was that family members and visitors were all smoking right next to them!!! And I don’t mean at the staircase, I mean in the rooms, in the halls and everywhere else. I told a nurse this and she very politely told one of them to put his out. Of course he, and the rest who we didn’t talk to, probably just lit up immediately after I left or kept on going. It was not a pretty site. Also the party was fun minus the fact that I had to remind myself that the patients below were completely miserable hearing us. I don’t necessarily blame the hospital for that, though, I’m sure they are rather overwhelmed without having to police everyone. But seriously, how do you not see yourself in that hospital bed when you are smoking next to them!

  • 二奶头发

    the bottle on the right is 葡萄糖.. grape sugar…

    • hekawila

      I think a proper translation is glucose

      • 二奶头发

        yes but 葡萄 in chinese is grape. I was going to comment on his purple arm ( grape juice, wine pun) but didn’t get a chance to finish my statement..disqus cut me off again lol

        • hekawila

          sorry for interrupting your jo,,,,

  • Ralphrepo

    It’s a real shame when slipshod care happens, but even more so when it overlays and clouds an already confusing clinical picture. Here we have a man who is stated to have had an almost unremarkable two week post operative course, that then suddenly succumbs for seemingly no apparent reason. Family members, who often know next to nothing of the clinical science, will sometimes cling to coincidental but meaningless happenstance as an example of damning evidence; an “Aha!” instance if you will, of skulduggery or malfeasance.

    Was this a medication error? Of course it was. But did it cause the man’s death? From everything I’ve read here thus far? Highly Doubtful. The IV meds given in error to the decedent seemed pretty plain, run of the mill type pharmaceutical agents (insulin, potassium chloride, and prilosec) that can be given to almost anyone without a problem unless they had a specific allergy to it. I also agree with the other respondent who noted that the purplish discoloration at the IV site was likely secondary to localized trauma during the IV insertion. Clinically, that bruise on the hand is thus, an absolutely moot clue; but to a distraught family member, it understandably can morph to become a sign of a ‘murder weapon’, so to speak. But clinically, it remains meaningless.

    It would be interesting to read the final official pathology report. But I guess in cases like this, given the wide spread prevailing distrust of and within the Chinese medical arena, the outcome being perceived as a cover up, is unfortunately a fait accompli. My two cents is, the guy probably did throw a clot and died. But nonetheless, that hospital needs to seriously do a root cause analysis and review the integrity of their med administration practices.

  • Kelly Rosenburg

    This is the Capital city of China how could this happen… public hospital in Beijing are the worse hospitals in China… I had a fever for 5 days and couldn’t stand it and went to the public hospital and there where needles on the floor and also blood i would never go to any hospital again…