100,000 yuan charge for ailment fixed for 1 yuan
Shenzhen Children's Hospital denied that it tried to charge 100,000 yuan (HK$122,000) for a disease that turned out to be an apparent minor ailment and was resolved with a dose of paraffin oil costing just under 1 yuan at another hospital, the Guangzhou Daily reported.
The Shenzhen hospital had proposed a major operation for an infant with a stomach problem last month, but the parents rejected the offer and took their son to a hospital in Guangzhou. The child recovered after taking a simple prescription.
His parents are now demanding 100,000 yuan in compensation from the Shenzhen hospital.
At a press conference on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Shenzhen hospital said the hospital stood by the doctors' diagnosis that the boy, just four days old at the time, had Hirschsprung's disease, a birth-defect resulting in a blockage of the large intestine that is serious enough to require immediate surgery.
Even though the boy appeared to have recovered after taking medicine from the Guangzhou hospital, the Shenzhen hospital said it was still too early to rule out its diagnosis.
The hospital said that when the patient's father, Shenzhen resident Chen Gang, brought in his son, a thorough medical examination was conducted.
Infants with Hirschsprung's disease do not have nerves in parts of their larger intestine to stimulate muscle contractions that move food through the stomach.
The Shenzhen hospital spokesman said they proposed the surgery to Chen, but never told him it would cost 100,000 yuan. It rejected Chen's compensation claim.
Chen criticised the Shenzhen hospital for taking nearly a dozen X-rays, exposing his son to high doses of radiation that might cause unpredictable health problems later. He also criticised the hospital for using a large dose of antibiotics with little indication of bacterial infection.
Chen said that the 100,000 yuan figure for the surgery was a low estimate. He was told by doctors that the medical treatment would require several risky operations over a period of at least six months.
The number of babies with Hirschsprung's disease for every 100,000 live births. Nine per cent of cases also have Down's syndrome