Family claims unusual treatment hurt, not healed, their baby

Source:The Beijing Times - Global Times Published: 2017/9/11 19:03:39

Pictured is the Hubei Provincial Women and Children Care Center. Photo: IC

Yang, the mother of a toddler who she says suffers from brain development problems, has claimed that a treatment in which a doctor violently shook her baby has caused her son to develop cerebral palsy.

The outraged mother posted a video online which shows a doctor treating her son by forcefully shaking his head online, which quickly went viral and triggered public questions over the "head-shaking" therapy.

In the video, little You You lies on his mother's legs. Li Songjiang first shakes the child's neck back and forth and then rubs his head. You You cries throughout the procedure.

Yang told The Beijing News that she took You You to the Hubei Provincial Women and Children Care Center in May as he was suffering from pneumonia, malnutrition and brain developmental problems. The boy underwent surgery for congenital heart disease last year.

Yang says she chose the center as she had heard its rehabilitation therapy clinic was able to treat brain illnesses. On July 11, Yang met with Li. "Li told me my boy was in a serious condition and he immediately treated him," said Yang, adding that she had never heard about the "head-shaking" therapy before meeting with Li.

She said she found it painful to see her son undergo the therapy, but she persisted as she "saw other children in the department were also accepting the same treatment and I thought my boy could be cured after going through all the pain."

According to Yang, from July 11 to 19, You You was shaken by Li every day. She said that Li alone was in charge of the clinic and treated over 30 children every day.

On July 19 You You would not open his mouth after receiving his daily shaking, according to his mother.

Worried, Yang took her son to the emergency room, but the family and the hospital disagree over what happened next.

The hospital claims that the boy was suffering from a cardiac arrest and that doctors conducted surgery immediately. The hospital said that the boy is now in a stable condition.

Yang's family have claimed that his "condition worsened" on July 19 and that the boy has now developed cerebral palsy as a result of the shaking treatment.

It was not reported how they reached this conclusion, or whether the child has had a formal diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Li told the China News Service that You You was suffering from cerebral palsy when he first treated the child, and that the family had brought the boy to him specifically so he could treat this condition.

Take us to court

The care center rejected the family's claims in a statement and suggested that they file a lawsuit if they want to prove their accusations.

According to the statement, the patient's family has demanded compensation of 3.8 million yuan ($580,000) but the hospital has refused.

An employee from the hospital told The Beijing News that Li is registered as medical practitioner who is engaged in rehabilitation medicine. The report said that Huang Ziming, deputy director of the hospital's medical department, said that although Li only has a "low academic degree," he has 30 years of experience and got his medical license in 2011.

The official website of the hospital explains that the rehabilitation clinic was established in 1984 and has eight medical staff. The website does not mention any therapy related to "head shaking" but claims that its doctors are capable of curing cerebral palsy and their success rate is over 80 percent.

False claims?

Zheng Shanhai, a doctor at China Meitan Central Hospital, told The Beijing News that cerebral palsy is congenital and currently there is no cure. "By using traditional Chinese acupuncture, massage and medicines, some symptoms can be alleviated. However, nobody can claim that they can cure the disease," said Zheng.

Zheng warned that children's necks are very fragile and are not something that can be "touched" randomly. The younger the child is, the heavier burden the neck carries. Therefore, it is hard to claim that head-shaking therapy would do no harm to a child. 

A doctor from the First Affiliated Hospital with Sun Yat-sen University also told the Southern Weekly that he has never heard of such therapy. Pei Honggang, a senior pediatrician from the Shenzhen-based Women's and Children's Specialized Healthcare, said that this treatment is unlikely to have therapeutic effects. 

The Beijing Times - Global Times

Newspaper headline: Shaken faith

Posted in: SOCIETY

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