A video featuring a doctor in Mainland China ‘shaking’ a child’s head for treatment went viral online last month. Parents of the child claimed their son suffered from cerebral palsy as a result of the treatment—and are planning to file a lawsuit against the hospital.

Parents: Li’s treatment result in irreversible injuries on their children

The child was initially admitted to Hubei Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital due to pneumonia. During the stay, his mother, Yang, noticed a number of parents queueing up for rehabilitation therapy offered by Dr Songjiang Li, the doctor known for his ‘head-shaking therapy’.

Yang claimed her child was born with developmental challenges—and could neither speak nor walk, seven after one year old. On 11 July, she decided to take her child to Li, in hopes that Li could cure her child. Every session of the therapy (which lasted for around one minute), Li shook the child’s head and neck—and the child ended up bursting into tears and struggled in pain.

It was until her son had gone through 16 sessions of the treatment, and finally collapsed after the treatment on 19 July. The child was immediately sent to the Accident and Emergency department due to breathing difficulty and cardiac arrest. Although the child survived and currently in a stable condition—his parents claimed that the MRI results obtained on 19 August had revealed their son suffering from brain damage. Subsequently, they terminated the treatment, and hired a lawyer to pursue legal action.

“My son’s lips were trembling after the treatment,” recalled Yang. “I raised my concern to the hospital, but they referred me to a dentist, instead. My son is now suffering from an irreversible injury,” expressed Yang, in distraught.

According to Yang, a number of other parents contacted her and her husband after the video went viral online. They claimed their children allegedly encountered similar experience after Li’s treatment.

The child’s brain was already damaged before the treatment, defended Li

Nevertheless, the hospital has denied the accusation. Instead, it placed the blame on the child’s parents—claiming they were spreading false information (accusation) on Weibo. The hospital said the patient had undergone several treatments since May 2017. Li further defended his approach, justifying that the child had already been suffering from cerebral palsy when they first consulted him.

Li explained that every doctor has his own approach in providing treatment. He also added that his approach had successfully cured many patients in the past—with a cure rate of over 80%. He also remarked that “everything that has been put on the web is distorted”. Nonetheless, he has refused to explain the principle to his treatment approach.

Li’s controversial approach has garnered media’s attention since July 2016. Some doctors even pointed out Li’s approach is risky, as it easily damages the spinal cord. The consequences could have been even more severe had Li apply excessive force on the child’s head and neck.

“Although the approach appears to be controversial, Li has handled many of these cases for years… and the hospital had never received a single complaint,” attested Dr Ziming Huang, a fellow colleague at the same hospital. MIMS

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