Chinese 'doctors' flee Vietnam clinic during raid

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Doctors at a Chinese-owned medical clinic fled the building during a raid by the Ho Chi Minh City Health Department on Monday.

The raid was organized after Tuoi Tre published a story, on Sunday, in which a woman claimed that clinic staff had held her hostage in a hotel for five days because she could not pay her bill.

Inspectors say that as soon as they entered the clinic on Phan Dang Luu Street in Phu Nhuan District several Chinese doctors (who were in the process of examining patients) stripped off their white coats and fled the building. 

Only receptionists and interpreters stayed to speak with the inspectors.

The clinic's owner was absent and none of the abandoned doctors' coats had name tags.

Inspectors discovered that some of the clinic's medicines had expired and some lacked certificates of origin. A number of Chinese medicines and fluid transfusion bottles lacked the proper certifications for use.

Inspectors also found bags of medical waste in the toilet of the clinic.

According to the HCMC Health Department, the clinic had registered to treat its patients with traditional Chinese medicine but the staff had performed other activities involving obstetric treatment, testing, ultrasound scanning and rehabilitation.

Li Jian Hua, the clinic's manager, said he employs six Chinese doctors but only one of them has been licensed to practice medicine in Vietnam. The remaining five are in the process of obtaining licenses, he said.

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The inspectors asked the clinic's doctors and employees who could not produce the proper licenses to cease working.

They also asked the clinic to stop selling medicine without certificates of origin and stop performing procedures which have not been registered with the authorities.

The owner of the clinic was required to come to the HCMC Health Department for questioning.

On Monday, Vu Quoc Lap, the police chief of Phu Nhuan District's Ward 2, said the police have received five complaints from patients who accused the clinic of charging them exorbitant fees.

The patients said they had all learned about the clinic through television ads and decided to go there. When they received their bills, they realized that the clinic had charged them much more than what they had been told over the phone.

When the patients could not pay up front, the clinic staff detained them in the hotel next door until their families gathered enough money to cover their bills.

One of the patients, Nguyen Thi My Hanh, 34, told police she had arrived at the clinic on June 10 but was kept in a hotel until June 15 after she could not pay her VND35 million bill.

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