On Wednesday, a 40-something woman fell unconscious after an oriental doctor treated her neck pain with lidocaine, a topical anesthetics allowed for only physicians of Western medicine, not herb doctors.
Lidocaine is special medicine only Western physicians can prescribe, and Oriental doctors who do not have medical licenses cannot prescribe it.
It was around 7:40 p.m. that the woman lost her senses. The Oriental doctor called 119 at 8:03 and paramedics arrived at the scene six minutes later, performing first aid and transferred the patient to a nearby hospital emergency room. The Oriental doctor who came with the patient in the ambulance reportedly told the medical staff that he had injected lidocaine into the neck.
The hospital left his remarks in the medical record before transferring her to Ajou University Hospital where the patient is still lying unconscious.
Western doctors said chances are high the patient showed “anaphylactic shock,” a hypersensitive shock of sorts, citing numerous such examples.
"Doctors tend to think light of using lidocaine, but it can lead to various side-effects,” a physician said. “There’s a high probability that this is an anaphylactic shock. It is important to monitor the patient after injecting the medication, but this seems like a case they found it too late."
An industry executive agreed. "I do not know how the oriental doctor obtained lidocaine which is a special medicine that only a Western doctor can prescribe and use,” he said. “It is illegal to inject lidocaine injections without having the equipment to deal with the potential emergency situation caused by its side-effects."
An official responsible for dealing with Oriental medicine’s problems at Korean Medical Association said, "Some oriental doctors received legal punishment for using lidocaine, which, however, hasn’t helped to reduce their malpractices,” he said. “Just type the phrase “oriental clinic lidocaine” on the Internet, and a myriad of cases will pop up. Regulators should use this opportunity to prevent illegal practices more actively."
This paper called the Oriental hospital to ask about the use of lidocaine, but the clinic said it could not confirm it, and the herb doctor in question was not available for comment.
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