Chinese hospital accused of cheating patients into having unnecessary surgery

Police question staff over allegations men were scammed after being lured by offer of low-cost treatments for genuine ailments

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 July, 2018, 4:10pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 July, 2018, 4:39pm

A men’s hospital in southwest China is under investigation following allegations it tricked patients into agreeing to unnecessary surgical procedures and charged them inflated prices, according to local media reports.

Several members of staff from the Ouya Hospital in Zunyi, Guizhou province, were taken into custody on Wednesday, Beijing Youth Daily reported, citing a statement by the city’s public security bureau.

They and their associates are accused of running a scam in which would-be patients were offered low-cost treatments for common male health problems.

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The report did not say how many people were involved in the alleged fraud, but said the ringleaders used the popular messaging service WeChat to promote the deals and employed stooges to help convince victims to sign up for them.

The security bureau said it was alerted to the case in March after receiving complaints from the alleged victims.

One man was quoted as saying he was attracted to a post on WeChat that offered treatment for an unspecified medical problem for just 1,000 yuan (US$150).

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He said he spoke to a woman on the phone and was impressed with her attitude and the details of the treatment.

“She even told me I could claim back my taxi fare,” said the man, who was identified by the alias, Zhou.

It was only after staff had carried out some laboratory tests and Zhou was preparing to undergo a minor surgery for his original problem that a doctor told him he needed additional treatment.

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Zhou said he was confused by the news but agreed to have the extra surgical procedures performed. His final bill came to 10,000 yuan, the report said.

He said he realised later that he had been cheated, but when he tried to contact the hospital on WeChat, he found his contacts had blocked him.

Police said they were investigating the allegations.