The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: March 4, 2008 NO.10 MAR.6, 2008
A Battle for the Truth
The discovery of a medical device that was actually harmful to patients set one physiotherapist on a path that pitted her against much of the Chinese medical establishment

The world may have moved beyond medieval times, but many people still pay a price for telling the truth, standing up against evil forces, and upholding social justice. Chen Xiaolan, a doctor in east China's Shanghai, is one of them. For a decade, she has been debunking harmful medical devices, and had her own life derailed for doing so. But finally her dedication has been recognized and last year Chen was listed among the 10 people who touched the hearts of the Chinese people most in 2007.

Chen, now in her mid-50s, once had a peaceful life as an ordinary physiotherapist in a community hospital in Shanghai. In China, doctors are called "angels in white" and are respected for their sacred duty in saving people's lives. Life took an unexpected turn for Chen on a July day in 1997, when an old patient stepped into her office to ask her a question. The patient was put under light quantum blood therapy, a therapy used for cardiovascular diseases. The patient complained that the doctor imposed this therapy on him. The therapy is not only expensive but also very uncomfortable. After receiving laser treatment, he started trembling.

Chen felt strange about the story, and asked for a specification of the light quantum generator. The specification of the medical equipment described it as an advanced device that can lower blood viscosity and increase blood oxygen saturation. It is used for the treatment of diseases such as cerebral arteriosclerosis and cerebral thrombosis. She did not find any problem in the specifications.

But the patient's abnormal response to the therapy prompted her to examine the medical device carefully. Soon, she found the "ZWG-B2" printed on the box indicated the machine was a generator of ultraviolet rays rather than light quantum. Chen decided to simulate the effect of the ultraviolet rays on the liquid to be injected into patients' blood. She was astonished to find that after being exposed to the light, the liquid turned cloudy, producing harmful suspending solids. To understand the risks of the medical device better, Chen visited 23 patients that received the therapy and found nine of them deceased from kidney failure or lung problems, according to a report in Legal Daily, a Chinese newspaper. Chen tried to find the alleged inventor of the equipment, a professor that was said to work in the medical center of Fudan University, previously known as Shanghai Medical University, but learned from the school that such a professor did not exist. Chen realized that she was dealing with a medical fraud.

Getting into trouble

Chen first brought the fraud to the president of her hospital, who did not believe in her skepticism. Chen then reported the case to the local government and to the State Food and Drug Administration and other national government agencies in Beijing. After a careful investigation, on April 15, 1999, Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau announced the decision to ban the use of this harmful medical device in Shanghai. A national ban on the medical device came in 2005.

1   2   Next  

Top Story
-Protecting Ocean Rights
-Partners in Defense
-Fighting HIV+'s Stigma
-HIV: Privacy VS. Protection
-Setting the Tone
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved