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Doctors Punished for Malpractice Death

Two doctors in eastern China escaped with a six-month suspension after they were found responsible for allowing unlicensed medical personnel to treat a baby girl who subsequently died from an incorrect diagnosis.


The Ministry of Health on Monday announced the punishments for Xu Kaiben, the head of pediatrics at the People's Hospital of Guangde County in Anhui Province, and one of his deputies, Yi Shaoxiang, in a circular issued nationwide.


"The crackdown on unlicensed practicing and faulty hospital management has been going on for two years, but some medical institutes and local government health departments have failed to effectively carry out the ban, harming people's interests and tainting the image of the health sector," the circular said.


The ministry ordered localities to "strictly punish" the people who ignored the ban.


On May 5, 2006, a baby girl named Ouyang Siyu was admitted to the Guangde hospital. She died in hospital that night after being diagnosed with flu and put on a drip. The results of the autopsy, which was insisted on by the parents, showed that the baby actually suffered from a heart problem and died of an overdose of drip infusions, the official China Central Television (CCTV) earlier reported. The report sparked a public outcry.


"Three out of the five doctors treating Ouyang did not have a practitioner's licence," the circular said.


Xu Kaiben failed to show up to operate on the baby girl and took two days to sign the prescriptions made by Zhou Shaoli, an unlicensed medical school graduate who was allowed to treat Ouyang without any other doctors present, the circular said.


Yi Shaoxiang, Xu's deputy, was partly responsible for Ouyang's death as he made an incorrect diagnosis of the girl, it added.


Further investigations found three other doctors and two nurses in Guangde hospital practicing without a license, the circular said. They were not related to Ouyang's case. The fate of the unlicensed medical practitioners was not revealed in the circular.


The hospital was fined 5,000 yuan and the local government was urged to punish the president of the hospital.


(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2007)

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