Hospital director escapes jail term in blood test scam

By Ha An, Thanh Nien News

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Nguyen Tri Liem, suspended director of Hoai Duc District General Hospital in Hanoi, at a trial on March 7 for fake blood test results being issued by his hospital last year / PHOTO: HA AN
The director of a Hanoi public hospital got off with a warning from a court after hundreds of blood test results were found to have been faked by his subordinates last year.
On Friday the Hanoi People’s Court also placed seven of Nguyen Tri Liem’s subordinates, including Nguyen Thi Nhien, deputy director of Hoai Duc District Hospital, on probation for 10 to 16 months.
Vuong Thi Kim Thanh, head of the hospital’s testing department, was sentenced to 12 months in jail.
According to the indictment, between August 1, 2012 and May 31 last year Thanh, 55, and six other lab technicians faked 789 test results based on one blood test.
They earned more than VND16 million (US$786) from them, and shared it.
Even after investigations, it is not clear is any patients’ treatment has been affected.
The technicians claimed most of the fake results were given to relatives of colleagues who used them for non-medical purposes
All seven pleaded guilty to  charges of “power abuse,” while Liem, 52, and Nhien, 55, were convicted of “dereliction of duty.”
Both are also under suspension.
The scam was exposed by Hoang Thi Nguyet, 47, also a hospital diagnostician who worked tirelessly to collect evidence with help from two other colleagues.
Nguyet has since been dubbed "Nguyet Hoai Duc," and has achieved fame for inspiring a national debate over medical ethics.
But Liem and several others lodged complaints accusing Nguyet and her colleague Phan Thi Oanh, another diagnostician who helped her with the investigation, of committing the same crime.
Oanh was placed under an investigation, and it was found that she had joined the scam in the beginning. But later the police dropped charges against her, saying she had helped expose the fraud.
Nguyet has also been investigated and will be punished if violations are found, according to the police.
For her whistle-blowing, Nguyet was given a reward of VND320,000 ($15) and a certificate from the Hanoi Department of Health, which sparked off public criticism, with many saying it was an insult rather than a reward
Some city legislators have also criticized the reward as being too meager to encourage whistle-blowers.

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