Baby dies while doctor plays game online

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, November 13, 2009
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A 5-month old baby died in hospital while the doctor was playing a game online, an investigation has found.

The boy was taken to the Nanjing Children's Hospital last Tuesday with a serious eye infection that can lead to swelling inside the skull.

Though staff said the boy was doing fine in the afternoon, his condition worsened and he died about 1:30 the next morning.

Computer experts later found the ophthalmologist, Mao Xiaojun, had been playing a game of 'go' online, health officials said yesterday.

Mao will be dismissed from the hospital and deprived of his medical certificate. All other on-duty staff will be punished.

The incident came to light after an article posted on the Internet condemned Mao and the hospital, alleging he was playing online games.

The hospital initially said that Mao was writing his thesis that night.

However, health officials launched their own investigation.

"Mao lied to us a few days ago," Li Shaodong, director of the healthcare reform office of the Jiangsu health department, told China Daily yesterday.

"He admitted to playing the game of 'go' online after our computer experts checked out evidence on his computer."

He said Mao did not follow hospital regulations and his sluggish attitude toward patients led to the boy's death.

The Jiangsu health department said on Wednesday that the hospital was responsible for the baby's death as its workers did not recognize the baby's serious condition and failed to give him timely treatment.

The hospital refused to make a statement yesterday and the victim's family was not available for comment.

The incident has focused attention on negligence and malpractice in hospitals.

On Tuesday, officials at Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center at Sun Yat-sen University said that three of 10 patients who underwent procedures to correct myopia, or nearsightedness, on Oct 21 became infected because the center had used the same laser machine for experiments on animals.

Since 2002, more than 10,000 lawsuits over medical disputes have been filed in China each year. Health experts have called for medical staff to improve their skills, and for quicker healthcare reforms.

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