Breast augmentation ‘leaves woman in coma’ in China, clinic staff charged

Questions allegedly voiced over procedure performed by member of staff hired specially because the clinic did not usually offer it

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 July, 2018, 9:19pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 July, 2018, 12:02pm

The owner of a beauty clinic in central China and her employee are facing illegal medical practice charges after a botched procedure allegedly left a female patient in a coma for more than 18 months, state media reported.

The Xiaoxiang Morning Post report said Changsha Yuhua People’s Procuratorate began hearing the case on Tuesday involving two people, including a woman surnamed Luo who was identified as the owner of the clinic in Changsha, Hunan province.

The patient, identified only by her surname Li, underwent a breast augmentation treatment involving injections that cost 400,000 yuan (US$60,300) at the clinic in January 2017, the newspaper said.

The woman suffered a severe seizure and lost consciousness after the surgery, according to the report.

Her husband told the newspaper he had not known in advance about his wife’s surgery.

“She had been in good health as always and seldom got sick,” said the man, identified as Mr Li.

“By noon, she was listed in critical condition,” he said, “and I didn’t receive any news until four hours later.”

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The report stated that before the surgery, Mrs Li was injected with hyaluronic acid – which was not marked with a date of production – by the other defendant, identified as Mr Zeng, the court heard. He was described as having been hired by the clinic for 16,0000 yuan.

Another staff member told the court that “Zeng mentioned the hyaluronic acid was imported through genuine channels”, the newspaper said.

“He claimed that it can be injected directly into a patient without anaesthetic, since the acid already contained anaesthetic,” the staff member said.

Owner Luo, who had allegedly approved the surgery after the other clinician had briefed her about the details, told the court the patient had asked for a non-invasive procedure that the clinic could not normally offer.

She had hired Zeng to use a “patented technique in breast augmentation that doesn’t leave scars”, stated the report.

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The witness said she did not ask to see Zeng’s medical qualifications but he claimed to have worked at “qualified hospitals” and demonstrated techniques such as facelifts, the report said.

She was also quoted as saying: “Zeng told me it is just an injection under the skin, and his patented technique required no prior check-ups – he rejected the idea and worried about his patent technique being stolen.”

The clinic in Changsha was founded by Luo in 2014 and licensed by Changsha Yuhua District Majiachong Health Centre, according to Xiaoxiang Morning Post.

Chinese law requires staff for such procedures to be confirmed as having the required medical certificate each time they begin work in a new clinic.