HCCC bans unregistered acupuncturist after patient suffers collapsed lung

Date: Mar 13, 2020

The Health Care Complaints Commission of New South Wales has permanently banned Liya Rong, a 60-year-old Australian citizen and unregistered acupuncturist, from practising after a woman suffered a collapsed lung following acupuncture treatment.

The commission stated that Liya Rong posed “a risk to the health and safety of members of the public” and she had breached the Unregistered Health Practitioners’ Code of Conduct by performing a service she was not qualified to provide.

Diagnosed with pneumothorax

In April 2019, the patient had gone to the Great Wall Chinese Medicine Clinic in Hurstville in Sydney’s south to seek treatment for a headache. Rong treated the patient with three needles inserted in the back of her head and one needle on either side of her shoulder, near her collarbone. Half an hour after her treatment, the patient experienced shortness of breath and tightening around her chest, and went to the emergency room at St. George Hospital.

The patient was diagnosed with a collapsed lung (pneumothorax) and admitted to the hospital. Her condition did not improve until she visited the hospital a second time to undergo a chest drain.

The patient told the commission that one of the treating health practitioners informed her “she was fortunate that the acupuncture did not result in a pneumothorax to both sides of her chest as the outcome could have been fatal.”

Unqualified for the job

In her response to the inquiry, Rong told the commission that she studied acupuncture and remedial massage at the Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China in 2003 and also said she was a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. The commission queried the authenticity of her qualifications and discovered that her membership with the society was only for remedial massage – and had lapsed in 2016.

The commission determined the treatment provided by Rong led to the patient’s collapsed lung, and the injury happened because: “Ms. Rong is not competent and sufficiently qualified to practise acupuncture.”

Rong was permanently banned from practising acupuncture or dry needling – whether for paid services or on a voluntary basis – unless she successfully finishes an approved acupuncture program.

If you have been a victim of medical negligence or malpractice, you should consult a specialist lawyer to find out your rights to compensation. Contact the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers for a free consultation today.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.