A Chinese mother accused a hospital in China’s northern province of Hebei of causing the death of her 36-day-old infant because the hospital allegedly delayed medical treatment due to its mandatory PCR testing for COVID.
On June 13, a netizen with the username “Am IU’s Mommy” posted a complaint on her Chinese social media account, alleging that the reason the Second Hospital of Hebei Medical University (the Second Hospital for short) did not provide proper and timely treatment to her baby was because he did not have a PCR test report.
The article now has over 770,000 clicks on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.
Infant Shifted from ER to Makeshift Cabins Due to High Fever
According to the netizen, her child began to vomit and had a poor appetite on May 27, 2021. A local pediatrician diagnosed the baby with neonatal intestinal obstruction, and suggested she take the baby to a comprehensive hospital for treatment. She and her husband immediately went to the Second Hospital, which was “the most regretful decision” in her life, she said.
They arrived at the Emergency Department (ER) after 2 a.m. on May 28. What they experienced at the hospital has left them devastated.
As the baby had a fever, the ER staff declined to treat the infant and told the parents to go to a fever clinic where pediatricians would take care of the baby.
At 2:50 a.m., a doctor saw the baby at the fever clinic, and said the baby had a fever and should be transferred to the temporary medical cabins in the hospital.
At 4:15 a.m., the baby was admitted to the makeshift cabins after the parents completed all the admittance procedures.
From a screenshot posted by the mother, the doctor accepting the baby wrote the following diagnosis: 1. Abdominal distension to be checked: enterocolitis? 2. Intestinal obstruction. Condition assessment: stable condition, free movement, no malnutrition, and stable vital signs.
Seeing the doctor’s assessment of the baby as stable, the young parents were relieved and thought that their newborn could be treated now. They had no idea that this was the beginning of their misfortune, the mother wrote.
Nine Critical Hours with No Medical Treatment
For the nine hours after their arrival at the hospital and later at the makeshift cabins, the medical staffers did not perform any treatment, such as gastrointestinal decompression and enema, to alleviate the infant’s bowel obstruction, according to the mother in her online post of complaint.
According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, “intestinal obstructions are a partial or complete blockage of the small or large intestine, resulting in failure of the contents of the intestine to pass through the bowel normally.” It suggests immediate and rapid treatment to avoid strangulation, which can be “fatal.” According to the publication, treatment methods include inserting a nasogastric tube to suction out what is in the stomach and intestines, injection of intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and to correct electrolyte imbalances, or an air enema to relieve partial obstruction.
However, the medical staff of the second hospital did not do any of these measures. From the video clip posted online, a female medical staffer only gave medicine to reduce the baby’s fever. Another female staffer said to the parents of the baby that, although she understood their concern, the cabins were not equipped to rescue the baby.
The young couple begged medical staff there 11 times to give medical treatment to the baby, but the only response they got was to “wait,” the mother wrote in her post. She said no doctors came to their ward.
At 7:50 a.m. feces gushed out of the baby’s mouth and nose, and the father cried out for help in the video clip. Yet, no proper treatment was conducted to save the baby.
The doctors refused to transfer the baby to the Pediatric ICU, because he did not have a COVID test result, the mother wrote in her complaint.
At 11:51 a.m. on May 28, the baby was finally transferred to the Pediatric ICU after he tested negative for the COVID-19 virus.
“At 07:24 on May 29, 2021, after 19 hours of ICU rescue, I lost my 36-day-old son,” the mother wrote.
The causes of the baby’s death, according to clinical records posted by the mother, were bowel obstruction, enterocolitis, and multiple organ failure due to sepsis.
Unfair Medical Malpractice Appraisal
After her baby’s death, the mother and her husband filed a lawsuit against the hospital for malpractice.
They learned in the legal proceedings that the rescue procedures in the ICU “did not meet the requirements” and that they “had not taken the baby’s life seriously” during the entire hospitalization.
A year later, on May 18, 2022, a local Medical Malpractice Appraisal organization concluded that the baby’s death was a “grade-one class-A medical accident” and that the baby’s parents should bear the primary responsibility for the baby’s death, while the hospital was to shoulder secondary responsibility, the netizen wrote in her post.
Grade-one class-A medical accidents refer to those medical accidents that cause deaths of patients and are the most severe accident, according to the Medical Malpractice Grading Standard published by China’s health ministry in 2002.
The standard does not set out stipulations on responsibilities or compensation.
She accused the municipal medical association’s Medical Malpractice Appraisal office and relevant appraisal experts of ignoring the facts and openly protecting the Second Hospital in the appraisal, which was not fair and impartial.
“We absolutely disagree with such a ruling result,” wrote the mother. She decided to publish all evidence she has online, and asked for support.
She also noted that the hospital was capable of PCR testing within two hours for “special samples” from fever patients, as was reported by a Hebei news outlet in January 2021. But they were not offered this “special” service.
“How much I wanted to go with my son, but it kills me to think that my parents suffer as much pain as I do but I can’t do anything. It also hurts me to the core that my baby, only 36 days old, has not had any chance to experience this wonderful world,” the netizen wrote, saying that she and her husband live in the hope of getting justice for their baby.
The netizen’s latest post on her Weibo account, dated June 18, says that she’d go to the provincial health body “to consult the progress of the [investigation of the] accident” the next day.
The Epoch Times reached out to the second hospital, the Hebei provincial health commission, and the medical malpractice appraisal office, and has not received any reply before publication.
Gu Qing’er, Gu Xiaohua, and Luo Ya contributed to the article.