IV Injection with Sand Causes Pulmonary Embolism

By Li Xi
Li Xi
Li Xi
July 17, 2007 Updated: July 17, 2007

Dalian City resident Chen Wenfu was hospitalized at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University after suffering a head injury from a beating by local mafia in 1999, who had tried unsuccessfully to blackmail him.

A week later, while he was receiving an intravenous (IV) injection in the hospital, hospital staff found sandy sediment in the IV bag. As a result Chen suffered a pulmonary embolism.

For seven years, Chen Wenfu has spent a huge amount of money seeking a cure for the medical accident or malpractice, and he now owes a huge debt and is in great financial difficulty.

The medical tangle has lasted seven years. Although the case has worked its way thropugh the justice system, Chen has not yet received justice. The case is now stuck at the Higher People's Procuratorate of Liaoning Province, where no complaint against court rulings has been instituted, no “denial of complaint” has been issued, nor has the National People's Congress exerted any supervision.

Chen Wenfu said, “Several hospitals have given notice that I should be given critical care for my condition, but I cannot be hospitalized because I have no more sources from which to borrow money. Now I cough up blood day and night, and my condition is critical. The Higher People's Procuratorate is going to drain me to death.”

Medical Error or Malpractice

Chen Wenfu had opened a small factory with several of his friends and the business went very well, until the local mafia targeted him. In November 1999, gangsters tried to extort 5000 yuan (US$662) from Chen, but he refused them. The mafia enforcers then beat him brutally, leaving a 4cm- long wound in his head. Mr. Chen was hospitalized in the Second Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University with severe head injuries, where he received a multifaceted treatment, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

After a week in the hospital, Chen Wenfu was lying in bed, attached to an IV, when suddenly he felt his chest tighten; he could barely breathe. He noticed that the IV liquids weren't dripping. Looking up, he saw the IV liquid bag was full of fine sand. The head nurse was shocked when she saw it.

The hospital started emergency procedures, flushing his system with bag after bag of IV fluid for the next three days. After three days, hospital authorities told him, “You're fine now. We are discharging you from the hospital.” Despite the Chen Family's repeated request for a longer stay, the hospital authorities sent Chen home with some medication.

Doctor in Charge: It's Not a Medical Technology Problem

Chen Wenfu states, “At the time I hadn't started on the discharge procedures from the hospital. Legally speaking I was still a patient of that hospital.” “During the hospitalization in the Second Affiliated Hospital, a roommate suggested that I make a notarized copy of all the evidence I had. Now the Notary Public Office has a copy of every document.”

After leaving the hospital, Chen Wenfu visited a national respiratory expert, Lei Zhenzhi, and was diagnosed with “chest stuffiness and shortness of breath associated with pulmonary embolism.” Several hospitals including Beijing Xiehe Hospital of China Xiehe Medical University have diagnosed him with pulmonary embolism, lung infarction, hepatitis, cholecystitis, pancreatitis, diffuse liver damage, vascular thrombosis of the lower extremities, and heart and pulmonary artery high-pressure syndrome.

Liu Yane, the doctor in charge, said, “The doctor on duty was in charge at the time. I'm not quite sure of the overall situation, but it is not a medical technology problem. It is a problem of medicine reaction. It is not something related to a doctor's prescription.” She added, “This is not a medical rehabilitation problem. It's a problem of the medical affairs department and pharmacy department. The medicine examination organization, the pharmaceutical company and the hospital's medical affairs department all know of this incident.”

When a reporter called the hospital's medical affairs department, the person who answered the phone said that everyone had gone for a meeting and she didn't know anything about the incident. When the reporter attempted to reach the president of the hospital, the main switchboard operator, who did not know who was in charge of the matter, said that the president was not in the office.

400,000 Yuan Debt Seeking Cure, No Help From Procuratorate

The Higher People's Procuratorate of Liaoning has had the case for two years without processing it, obviously violating the regulations stipulated in the Regulations Concerning Handling of Civil and Administrative Cases, in terms of not instituting complaint against court rulings, nor issuing “denial of complaint.” Yet, the Higher People's Procuratorate has proposed to the Provincial People's Congress: Do not plan to officially file Chen's complaint, please review, as the patient has been hospitalized twice after the accident.

Now the case has been appealed to the Higher People's Procuratorate of Liaoning for nearly a year, but no court subpoena or notice of litigation has been received. Chen Wenfu has been constantly coughing up blood and he lives on the medicine his sister, herself a cancer patient, buys him out of her tiny pension. Chen owes nearly 400,000 yuan for various medical services, and still is not cured , Chen is asking the media for help in calling for an investigation.

Li Xi