A Chinese traditional medicine clinic in Ho Chi Minh City has been inspected and inspectors discovered it had committed many violations, including overcharging patients, offering health services beyond its license’s scope, using health workers without practitioner’s certificates, and selling unapproved medicines.
A "doctor" at the clinic answers questions by a police officer in Ward 2, Phu Nhuan District, Photo: Tuoi Tre
Many Chinese “doctors” rapidly fled their Chinese traditional medicine clinic at 141 Phan Dang Luu Street in Phu Nhuan District yesterday morning when a health inspection team came to inspect the facility.
The inspection was made after Tuoi Tre on Sunday published an article exposing the clinic’s wrongdoings towards patients.
They fed to avoid being questioned by inspectors about their non-compliance to laws their dishonest acts towards their patients, said a member of the team that was from the city Health Department.
As the clinic’s owner was not present and all the Chinese “doctors” had left, the inspection worked only with Li Jian Hua, the clinic’s meager, through his interpreter.
The clinic had six Chinese staff members but only one of them had obtained a practitioner’s certificate and a work permit.
In fact, many Chinese people arrived in Vietnam to act as “doctors” but they had no papers to identify themselves, the inspectors said.
The team found many kinds of medicines, transfusion fluids, and injections bearing Chinese trademarks but Hua failed to present licenses for circulation of those items in Vietnam.
The inspectors found three kinds of medicines, of which two were of Chinese origin, that were expired for use.
Only a traditional oriental medicine clinic, the facility had carried out many unlicensed health services in relation to obstetrics, ultrasonography and diagnosis testing.
Two advertising panels at the clinic showed contents that had not been approved by health authorities and the clinic’s signboard did not show the license number and the name of the doctor in charge.
The team requested that the clinic remove two panels that advertised medical services not yet approved by health authorities, stop retaining patients at the clinic for treatment against their will, suspend unlicensed health service, and stop selling unapproved medicines to patients.
The team requested that all medical workers, including doctors, who have yet to present their practitioner’s licenses or proper diplomas stop their activities at the clinic.
The team sealed up all the illegal medicine for investigation and demanded that the clinic’s owner come to the Health Department on June 21 for settlement of the clinic’s violations.
This board at the clinic showing low treatment costs and cheap Chinese traditional medicines, but in fact, doctors there overchaged their patients (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
Overcharging; retaining patients
The clinic charged patients much more than the cheap prices that had said to patients or showed in its advertising panels. It also retained patients who had not enough money to pay for exorbitant cost of treatment.
One of the victims was 34-year-old Nguyen Thi My Hanh, of the city’s Thu Duc District, who came to the clinic for infertility treatment on June 10 and was charged nearly VND40 million (US$1,920).
As having not enough money, Hanh was retained at Son Lam hotel near the clinic and was fed only a meal per day. The clinic banned her from leaving the hotel until full payment was made.
On June 15, Hanh’s husband called to Tuoi Tre for help reported the case to the Phu Nhuan District police. After the police’s intervention, Hanh was released one day later.
Another victim was Van Thi Thu Dam, 32, of Ninh Thuan Province. The woman came to the clinic on June 4 for gynecological examination. A doctor there diagnosed that she had a uterus ulcer that would be developed into a cancerous tumor if untreated.
To her surprise, the doctor told her that there were three options for her to choose: the disease would be cured successfully in 20 days at a cost of VND30 million, in 30 days at VND25 million and in 45 days at VND15 million.
Dam was then asked to pay in advance VND6 million and sign a document asking for payment deferment. She was later was retained at the hotel for treatment under watch by a guard around the clock. She was told to pay all the remaining charge if wanting to be released.
As having enough money, Dam’s relatives resorted to intervention of the police of Ward 2, Phu Nhuan District, and the clinic later agreed to reduce the cost by half for her.
She was released on June 8 after paying the remaining cost of nearly VND15 million.
Dam then came to Tu Du Obstetrics Hospital where doctors, after examination, concluded that she had no ulcer in her uterus. She paid only VND200,000 for her examination at the hospital.
Another victim was V.V.T, 27, who came to the clinic on June 17 for hemorrhoidectomy operation at a cost of as much as VND12.3 million.
After the operation, V was also retained at Son Lam Hotel, where he was asked to pay VND1.5 million for three intravenous bottles to be transfused to him if he wanted to get the clinic’s written warranty from that his disease would not recurred for 20 years.
Phu Nhuan Police said they had received several complaints from patients at the clinic. They said the settlement of such problems belongs to the responsibility of the Health Ministry and the HCMC Health Department.
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