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Police probe medical check-up death

POLICE are investigating after a man died during a regular hospital examination in Guangdong Province yesterday.

The family of the man, surnamed Ou, 59, are blaming doctors at Zhujiang Hospital for the death, as he died after he had been made to run on a treadmill for about 10 minutes, today's Information Times reported.

Ou had gone to the hospital complaining of shortness of breath, his family said.

But the doctors said they conducted the examination properly and described the tragedy as "an accident."

They had asked Ou to perform the test after a cardiogram showed no abnormalities, according to a hospital official surnamed Xiao.

Ou died probably from a stroke, he said.

Xiao said it was normal for the doctors, who suspected Ou was suffering from a coronary artery disease, to carry out the exercise electrocardiogram test (EET). The test is used to detect ischemia by increasing a patient's heart rate until he or she develops chest pain or shows abnormalities in the electrocardiogram.

Xiao said doctors had been closely monitoring Ou during the test and had treatment on hand if he did suffer a heart attack. They immediately arranged emergency treatment, he added.

But Ou's family said the doctors should have stopped Ou running after he complained it was too exhausting.

"He wanted to stop the test but doctors encouraged him to continue running," said Ou's wife who was with Ou during the test.

He fainted after running for a few more minutes, she told the Information Times.

Medical experts agree that some patients have to stop running. Patients usually have to run for 20 minutes to complete the exercise test.

But the test is normally safe, according to Wang Minghui, a professor with the 2nd Affiliated Hospital of Zhongshan University.

He said he had never heard of a death being reported during the test.

He said an autopsy would determine the exact cause of Ou's death.

The exercise electrocardiogram test is a cheap and convenient way to detect coronary artery disease, Wang said.

If patients show abnormalities in the test, they then have to undergo other more expensive tests, he said.


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