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January 27, 2010

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C-sections lead to 18 infect cases

A hospital in southern China's Guangdong Province is under investigation over the bacterial infection of 18 women who had cesarean sections there last year.

The women gave birth at the Huaqiao Hospital, the biggest hospital in Gurao Town of Shantou City, from August to November last year, an official with the provincial health department said on condition of anonymity.

"We received reports of several bacterial infection cases in October and ordered the local health authorities to launch an overhaul of the hospital," he said.

But the public knew little of the scandal until Nanfang Daily, a Guangzhou-based newspaper, carried a lengthy report on Monday.

The report said at least seven of the cases had been covered up, which the provincial health department official confirmed with Xinhua yesterday.

"We were aware of only 11 cases," he said. "We sent an investigation team to Shantou on Monday and will keep the public informed of the result."

The hospital had been told to suspend cesarean sections, he added.

Laboratory tests found patients were all infected with nontuberculous mycobacteria, the same cause of a massive post-surgery infection in 1998 that affected 166 patients at a maternity and child-care hospital in Shenzhen, also a city in Guangdong.

One of the seven patients whose conditions were concealed was Wu Qin, whose wound has been discharging pus since she had a cesarean section at Huaqiao Hospital on August 31.

"I was told it was an immunity problem and received antibiotic treatment for months," she was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

Until Monday, Wu and six other patients were being treated at the hospital for up to seven hours daily.

Several other patients were told that their wounds had not healed either because they were too skinny or too fat, the newspaper reported.

Huaqiao Hospital was founded in 1995 with donations from overseas Chinese.

The hospital provides medical services to more than 300,000 people.


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