999 center defends its procedures

Updated: 2015-12-02 08:15


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Investigation finds response to journalist's potentially deadly condition was 'proper' 

A major emergency rescue center in Beijing rejected accusations on Monday from a journalist who said deliberate malpractice at the center nearly cost him his life.

The statement came after days of silence amid heated public discussion and speculation over the controversy.

Zhang Yang, a journalist working for Liaoning Radio and Television Station in Shenyang, Liaoning province, immediately responded to the statement by the Beijing Red Cross Emergency Rescue Center (999), calling its investigation "unfair". He said he is preparing for a lawsuit.

Zhang suffered acute intestinal obstruction, a painful condition that can result in death, on a flight from Shenyang to Beijing on Nov 9. He claims he was not treated promptly and correctly.

According to a statement released by the center following what is characterized as a "serious investigation", an ambulance took Zhang to the 999 center instead of to a hospital for several reasons, and only after getting his consent.

The center also said its handling of Zhang was "proper and conformed to diagnosis and treatment standards". But it said Zhang refused to cooperate with doctors during treatment.

From his home in Shenyang, Zhang told China Daily by telephone that he could not agree with the conclusion of the 999 center.

"They should have listened to me before reaching a conclusion," he said.

Zhang was taken from the aircraft by ambulance to a hospital near Beijing Capital International Airport, where it was suggested he be transferred to Beijing Chaoyang Hospital or Peking Union Medical College Hospital for better treatment.

The airport hospital then contacted the rescue center for ambulance assistance, but the ambulance took him to the center instead of to either of the two hospitals. Zhang claims that was done to make a profit.

Zhang said the center could have taken him to a hospital, since the ambulance passed near several, including China-Japan Friendship Hospital.

Zhang said he received examinations in the 999 center lasting three hours while suffering great pain, but doctors could not find the cause and suspected him of having used drugs.

Finally, he managed to call two of his friends in Beijing, one of whom was a doctor, before he fainted.

The center transferred him to Peking University People's Hospital at the demand of the doctor. He then underwent a successful surgery that removed part of his intestine, he said.

In its statement on Monday, the center said that personnel from the center were notified by Peking Union earlier that day that the emergency department at the hospital was full, and the roads to Beijing Chaoyang Hospital were congested with traffic; so Zhang was sent to the center with his consent.

The center said its medical staff suspected an intestinal obstruction, but it said Zhang later refused to cooperate and removed a tube that had been inserted into his stomach. He also demanded injections of painkiller many times, it said, which led the medical staff to question him about drug addiction.