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January 12, 2010

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Hospital accused after victim found alive at funeral home

THE family of a crash victim has blamed hospital staff after he was pronounced dead at the scene but found with a heartbeat at the funeral home - only to die after a second attempt to revive him.

Zhang Tao, vice secretary-general of the Neijiang City government in southwest China's Sichuan Province, said an autopsy and medical investigation have been ordered into his death, the Beijing Times reported yesterday.

Zhang said a motorbike carrying a father and son rammed into a coach in the city around 2:30pm on Friday. Rescuers from Neijiang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital arrived nearly two hours later and pronounced Zhang Houming, 43, dead at the scene. His son Zhang Haibo, 23, was severely injured and sent to hospital.

Zhang senior was sent to a funeral home but the family found that his heart was beating when they went to visit him.

They called for help but staff from Neijiang No. 6 People's Hospital could not save him.

The family said the TCM hospital's error in diagnosis had delayed the proper treatment for Zhang and consequently resulted in his death.

He was showing signs of life with a body temperature of 36.8 degrees Celsius when the second rescue team arrived, his brother Zhang Houbing told the newspaper.

He had 74 heartbeats and 18 breaths per minute.

Neijiang Public Health Bureau said both death certificates were issued in a proper manner. Zhang Houming suffered extremely severe brain injuries, the bureau said, with no breath, no pulse, no reaction and no blood pressure detected at the scene of the accident.

Zhang might have been in severe shock and could have recovered consciousness during transfer to the funeral home, an unnamed government official told the newspaper.

The family is asking for compensation of 1.52 million yuan (US$222,600), the newspaper reported.

The sum is far beyond the government's offer of 200,000 yuan, which the government said was already higher than the 150,000-yuan standard set under the state rules.


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