Amid scandal, China military hospital closes doors to new patients
BEIJING – A Chinese military hospital, embroiled in a scandal over the death of a college student who had sought experimental cancer treatment at the facility, has temporarily closed its doors to new patients, state media reported on Wednesday.
The Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps has stopped new admissions, the state-run People’s Daily said in a post on its official microblog, a day after the health ministry launched an investigation into the hospital.
The student, Wei Zexi, 21, died last month of a rare form of cancer. He had gone to the hospital for treatment after finding information about it on the domestic search engine Baidu Inc, which is also being probed over the case.
“Due to the hospital undergoing education and rectification, we will from today temporarily suspend all external services,” the hospital said in a notice posted by the People’s Daily. This included emergency care, outpatient and inpatient services.
Reuters could not reach the hospital for comment.
China’s paramilitary police, which ran the hospital, said it would cooperate fully with the probe.
In a brief statement released on the Chinese military’s news website (www.81.cn), the People’s Armed Police said it paid great attention to Wei’s case and had already sent its own team to the hospital.
“Problems that are discovered will be seriously investigated and handled in accordance with the law, and there will be no compromises,” it said, without elaborating.
The People’s Armed Police are a paramilitary force that answers to the powerful Central Military Commission, which is in charge of the military and headed by President Xi Jinping.
Wei had searched Baidu for the best place for treatment, finding a department under the Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps that offered an experimental treatment that ultimately failed, state media reported this week.
Before he died, Wei accused Baidu of promoting false medical information and the hospital for misleading advertisements that claimed a high success rate for the treatment, state radio said.
Baidu said in a statement it deeply regretted Wei’s death and would cooperate fully with the investigation.
Healthcare is a flashpoint for many people in China, who have long faced issues from ticket touts illegally trading appointment tickets, snarling queues to see top doctors and rampant corruption that can push up the cost of receiving care. -Reuters