A patient at Liuzhou Worker’s Hospital in Liuzhou was recently asked to pay for a scalpel for her own operation, which she ended up shelling out 1,000RMB for.
Prior to her wrist surgery, the woman’s family was (naturally) surprised when they were asked to buy the scalpel, which was initially priced at 800RMB. The doctor was “kind” enough to recommend a company for the purchase. The family ended up paying 1000 RMB for the device.
After the procedure, the patient’s son-in-law wrote an outraged post on a Guangxi website, comparing the incident to going to a butcher and then being told to bring your own knife (we’d say this is quite a bit worse). The post has been read over 15,900 times and reported widely in Chinese media.
The hospital has responded, claiming that while equipment for the surgery was available, with the specialized scalpel the surgery becomes minimally invasive and substantially reduces recovery time. As the cost of the equipment was not covered by medical insurance, the family was given the option of procuring the scalpel themselves. The hospital states that they voluntarily elected to do so.
To add an extra dose of intrigue, the doctor that recommended the purchase supposedly declined to respond when queried about whether he had ties to the company that imported the scalpel.
With both parties seemingly culpable, we don’t know who to support. This case, along with the woman who claims to have awoken from an operation missing an ovary, goes down as one of the strangest surgical stories of the year.