Hospital pays compensation after unconscious patient loses belongings

The father of an emergency patient demanded a compensation from a hospital in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, after its medics cut the patient's clothes to save him.

The father of an emergency patient demanded compensation from a hospital in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, after its medics cut the patient's clothes to save him, Chutian Metropolis Daily reported today.

The hospital paid the family 1,000 yuan (US$151.6) yesterday to cover the man's damaged clothes and some belongings they claimed were lost during the rescue, including 500-yuan in cash, an identity card, a bank card and a USB cable.

According to the newspaper, the 34-year-old patient, surnamed Li, who works for a cyber cafe, suddenly collapsed while working on the afternoon of September 11 and was sent to Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University. 

There he was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism and a heart-lung machine was required to maintain the circulation of blood. To connect the machine to him, medics cut Li's T-shirt and shorts. Li's condition soon improved and he became stable on the evening of September 18.

During Li's recovery, his father arrived at the hospital and claimed that some items in his pocket had gone missing during the rescue. He demanded 1,500 yuan in compensation for the loss, which was rejected by the hospital. 

The hospital said they were not at fault and that it wasn't clear if the patient's items were lost at the hospital or on the way there.

Li's father then called police two days later and, after mediation, the hospital finally agreed to pay him 1,000 yuan.

The father told the newspaper that he found his son naked when he arrived and learned that there were originally some belongings in his shorts pocket. "The medics said they didn't find anything after they cut his clothes, which irritated me."

The father said though he appreciated the hospital's work saving his son's life, he still believes it should be blamed for failing to hand his belongings to them, which he described as a "fault of work".

Zhao Yan, vice president of the hospital, said no matter how expensive patients' clothes are, they must be cut in critical situations. 

"But medics were negligent when handling the damaged clothes and the patients' belongings," Zhao said. 

Generally, medics should take all items out from patients' pockets and give them to family members, and then throw away the clothes. Since the patient's condition was critical in this case, they probably didn't check the clothes very carefully.

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