China Hospitals Fake Oxygen and Meds

Hospitals under oxygen inspection

BEIJING – Authorities in Chenzhou of Central China’s Hunan province are checking the authenticity of medical-grade oxygen in all hospitals, after a children’s hospital was found to have purchased thousands of cylinders of industrial-grade oxygen from illegal suppliers…

Industrial oxygen is difficult to visually distinguish from medical oxygen, but in fact can exacerbate patients’ diseases. It sells at about 10 yuan a cylinder, which is 20 yuan lower than the medical-grade oxygen used in hospitals, insiders said.

From January 2006 to March 2010, a children’s hospital in Chenzhou bought 49,067 cylinders of oxygen – without signing a contract – from Chenzhou Industrial Gas Company, which is not a licensed supplier of medical oxygen, the State broadcaster CCTV said.

In January, the city’s food and drug administration fined the company 920,000 yuan ($134,700) over the malpractice. However, the hospital continued buying another 4,919 cylinders from the supplier until media exposed the practice earlier this month…

“It was the big profit margin that had driven officials to abuse their rights,” Wang said, adding that the price of medical oxygen is three times that of industrial oxygen.

The hospital has received more than 40 inquiries and complaints about the oxygen use since media coverage of the incident…

These quotes were taken from China Daily…by Chen Xin.

unbelievable...when I saw this story in the China Daily Newspaper I was shocked and horrified.  No matter what you can say about the American Healthcare system.. you can honestly say this kind of thing would not happen. I love many things about China but the healthcare is not one of them.

This is only one of many issues I have seen on the news and in the newspapers in China.  From giving the wrong meds to the wrong patients to babies dying from fake meds it all needs some sort of regulation.

Chinese policymakers have acknowledged the shortcomings of the current healthcare system and the acute challenges they face in improving it. In the Ministry of Health (MOH) and in other departments of the PRC government, there is widespread agreement on the need for reform and forthright acknowledgement of problems in medical services that include inefficiency, high costs, corruption, lack of a complete and fully implemented quality standard, and poor service.

After going to the hospital with my husband a one time I can understand how this kind of thing could happen.  The hospitals in China are not the kind of place you would want to be sick in…  I can’t generalize and say every hospital is bad in China, I can only speak for the ones I have been in.   However, those were .. for lack of a better word scary.

When we first arrived there were about 30 people waiting in a very dirty waiting room.  These people had various injuries from twisted arms and legs to large gashes on their heads… there were children and adults alike.  There were only two nurses at the receptionist desk and they were barking at patients in Chinese in a very rude fashion.    There were, from what I could tell, two doctors on duty.. they each had their own little rooms in which they were moving patients in and out of.   My husband and I walked up to the front desk .. (stepping over people on the floor) and asked to see a doctor.   It seems that my husband was feeling very weak and had a bad cough.   They told us to stand and wait for our number to be called… after about 30 minute wait we were taken into the little office where the doctor listened to my husband explain his situation.   She nodded and then told us to go to the x-ray department and then come back when we were finished.

We then had to walk up 3 flights of stairs to the “x-ray department”  where there sat another person waiting.   I waited in the chairs as my husband was rushed into a room and out again in less than five minutes.

We waited about 15 minutes and was told they x-ray was ready.   We then went to a computer screen and my husband swiped his medical card and a piece of paper came out of the slot.  (actually kind of cool) .. we proceeded to go to the second floor and we had to stop at a window and pay a fee … then pick up the copy of the x-ray.

After going back down to the doctor’s room.. we had to wait about 10 minutes then the doctor looked at the x-ray and told my husband what he needed.   Gave him a prescription.   Then it got crazy…..

He took this paper .. and when to another building in the hospital area… to a cashier.. here.. the lady took the paper and gave us a total of 350rmb .. which we needed to pay.  Then she stamped our paper and we had to walk to another building…(each building had us to go outside in the rain to get to the next one) … in this building we had to take an elevator to the 4th floor and went to a small window… where a man was dispensing meds.. but these meds were all in liquid form…  After we got these bottles.. we had to go back down the elevator and outside to another building carrying the meds with us.

When we entered the last building I couldn’t believe my eyes… there were hundreds of people all sitting in chairs with IVs hanging… rows and rows of people… everywhere.

We got in line and the Nurse took our meds.. and gave us a number… when our number was called… my husband walked up to the counter and stuck out his arm… they quickly stuck a needle in the top of his hand… and slipped the IV in… it took less than 4 seconds to do.. then I helped him to carry this IV.. holding it up in the air.. trying to find us two seats together so he could sit down.

After he was seated and the IV was hanging on the pole that hang from the ceiling… I sat down and took in the scenery around me… there were children screaming, people moaning, sneezing and coughing… the whole place smelled like vomit.. and there was a lone cleaning lady trying to sweep around people who were.. spitting on the floor, and throwing tissues and empty bottles all over the place.  I was disgusted…. I could not believe this was a hospital.

All I wanted was for this IV drip to finish as quickly as possible so we could get out of here.  My husband was looking terrible… which figures since we had just walked around for an hour to get everything.

The room had 2 TVs that were blaring two different stations in Chinese… which someone kept turning up .. because the crying was too loud.

After sitting in that overcrowded room for 2 hours… the drip finally ended and I signaled for the nurse to come and take it out.   Which she did and directly threw it in an overflowing wastebasket across the room.  This can’t be sanitary.. and this can be safe… what where they putting into these peoples’ veins? … when I tried to look at the bottle .. which was in Chinese for the most part…. I recognized Amoxicillin .. so that sounded familiar… so I hoped what they were giving my husband was okay.

I was so happy when we left that place… I knew then I would try to avoid going to the hospital in China at all costs.  I will self medicate until I can’t do it anymore.. then I will go back home.

I have been very, very lucky the year I have been in China and only had very simple colds..or headaches.. nothing serious… (knocking on wood)….I really don’t know what I would have done if I had to go thru that experience for myself.

So.. my friends… think what you want about our healthcare system… just be happy it isn’t like this one.

until next time…


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