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Bill dispute ends with stitches pulled

08-08-2011 10:27 BJT

BEIJING - A restaurant employee injured at work in Central China allowed a doctor to remove stitches to his wounds shortly after receiving treatment, rather than pay the bill.

The case was first reported by the Wuhan-based Chutian Metropolis Daily, which is in Hubei province.

The man, surnamed Zeng, received deep wounds to two fingers on Friday evening from broken plates. His colleagues quickly took him to the nearby Wuhan No 3 Hospital for treatment.

However, they were shocked when a bill for 1,830 yuan ($280) was presented 50 minutes later. They had brought only 1,000 yuan.

A colleague surnamed Wu tried to negotiate with the hospital, asking if they could pay the rest the next day.

He said a member of the medical staff replied: "Pay now or remove the stitches."

The 20-year-old Zeng, after realizing that the group could not pay the bill, let the doctor remove the stitches and bandage, without any anesthetic. Though in great pain, Zeng made no sound during the process, witnesses said.

Zeng and his colleagues later went to another hospital and spent 800 yuan to receive the same treatment.

A doctor surnamed He from the Wuhan No 3 Hospital, who operated on Zeng's fingers, said that the hospital's billing procedures had been approved by the city's price and health bureaus.

He also said that in general, the hospital will waive part of the fees if patients cannot afford the total, but added that Zeng and his colleagues had asked him to remove the stitches because they could not afford the fees.

A medical worker in Wuhan suggested that doctors at the No 3 Hospital should consult with their superiors before taking further action in such a case, even though the patient might insist on removing the stitches.

The worker said Zeng should have asked his colleagues to raise money for him, rather than choosing removal of the stitches, which could have led to deterioration of the wound.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: China Daily

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