Regular Fatalities at Illegal Shenzhen Medical Clinics

December 26, 2008 Updated: December 27, 2008

It is reported that China’s Shenzhen City is full of illegal medical clinics that have records of regular fatalities. Analysts say that simply closing these facilities will not solve the problem, as the real issue stems from too many poor people who are denied medical treatment in a legitimate hospital.

According to the Guangzhou Daily, improper treatments in illegal clinics or drugstores have resulted in eleven fatalities. These figures exclude pregnant women and their babies.

Another source reports that during the past two years, a total of 29 deaths were caused by medical mistakes in the illegal clinics in Shenzhen’s Baoan district, averaging more than one death per month.

The reported deaths result from various treatments, ranging from prenatal care to intravenous drip.

Sources claim that the actual number of illegal clinic fatalities is even greater, as medical disputes are often settled privately.

Certain streets in Shenzhen may house up to such six clinics. According to a local grocery store owner, these clinics are often located in the back of legitimate drugstores. The illegal clinics are advertised through word of mouth and in small ads in area papers.  

Last year local authorities declared that these illegal clinics and drugstores have almost been completely eradicated. They report that the illegal clinics have been pushed into industrial areas where migrant workers gather.

In areas where a sizeable portion of the population is unable to pay for legitimate medical care, these illegal clinics may  still be the only choice for Shenzhen’s poor to receive treatment.

Read original articles in Chinese.