Hospital denies Wuhan hero doctor’s accusation that botched operation caused her to nearly go blind in right eye
Published: Jan 02, 2021 04:20 PM

Photo: Sina Weibo

An ophthalmology hospital has denied an accusation by Ai Fen, a doctor from Wuhan considered by many to be a hero due to her efforts in the fight against COVID-19, that a botched operation caused her to nearly go blind in her right eye. AIER Eye Hospital Group cited an investigation report on Monday that said the retinal detachment in Ai's right eye is not directly associated with the cataract surgery she received at the hospital. 

AIER said it would do its best to help Ai with her eye problems, and together with her, hopes to seek a more objective and fair examination from the medical association and relevant departments. 

AIER's response came after Ai, who works in the emergency department of the Central Hospital of Wuhan and had fought the early outbreak of coronavirus in the city, created a storm of controversy after posting her accusation online. Ai was a former colleague of Doctor Li Wenliang and is also considered one of the "whistle-blowers" of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Ai has not responded to AIER's Monday report as of press time. She told the media on Sunday that an investigative staff member of AIER who called her on Saturday "only took three minutes" to "look into the case," which greatly angered her.

AIER Eye Hospital Group has more than 600 branches in China and its market value exceeds 308.5 billion yuan, ranking fourth on the Growth Enterprise Market of the Chinese stock market.

AIER said Saturday it set up an investigation team in Wuhan and would thoroughly investigate Ai's accusation. 

Ai said she was treated for blurred vision at AIER in May and followed with the recommended implantation treatment. After the treatment, Ai said her right eye had a detached retina and is nearly blind. 

Ai accused the hospital of not giving her a proper examination before operating. Ai said Wang Yong, the surgeon who completed her operation who is also the deputy head of the AIER branch in Wuhan, did not do much to help her. 

Ai also claims Wang swapped a photo of her eye for another person's with severe cataracts. 

Ai's claims were first rejected by AIER's Wuhan branch in an earlier statement on Thursday night, which stated that Ai had myopia complicated by cataracts in her right eye. Her pre-operation examination, surgery and post-operative reviews were in compliance with medical standards, the hospital said.

The statement said the pre-operation examination didn't find Ai has a detached retina. The checks were consistent with her previous diagnosis. 

AIER said post-operative reviews showed her vision had largely improved after the operation. 

The Global Times found many netizens reported similar experiences after Ai's complaints, and some threw mud at all private hospitals like AIER. 

Ai has won support online. She is a doctor who had fought for the country during the early stage of the epidemic and was honored as a hero of the city and the country.

"I'm a doctor and I never thought about provoking a disturbance. I hope to expose the irregular behavior of AIER hospital during its diagnosis and treatment process through my personal experience…" Ai wrote on her Weibo account on Friday.

"If the country needs me, I will wear goggles and protective clothing to go to the front line one more time," she wrote.

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