Li-Hui Di, Science News (Chinese) Vol. 22, Nov. 23, 2009
One of the volunteers, Lin Liu, conducted a survey on the effectiveness of the “Xiao Procedure”, which was claimed by the inventor, Dr. Chuan-Guo Xiao, to have an overall success rate of 85% for treating the urology disease (spinal bifida) by surgery. Liu was shocked by the post-surgery results in the patients who she visited. During the week of November 10, she visited several patients who underwent the Xiao Procedure. Because the patients lived in different places, Lin Liu had to travel through a number of counties, from Chengdu to Meishan, Deyang, Guangyuan in Sichuan and then from Linfen to Gaoping in Shanxi province, braving the cold weather and heavy snow. Upon her return on November 18, Lin granted an interview to Science News.
“No patient was cured by the Xiao Procedure at all” she said, “On the contrary, the surgery did cause disabilities.”
Lin Liu told the News that she felt the patients looked spiritless and were living in pain. They were told that their diseases could not be cured even at the best hospitals in Beijing. In their hopeless waiting, they saw the propaganda (Xiao Procedure) from the official and most authoritative Chinese medium --- CCTV (the China Central Television). They would trust the reputation of Zhengzhou University Medical School and their experts too.
Lin Liu has visited four patients in total. None of them has been cured by the so-called Xiao Procedure and some of them were even permanently disabled by the surgeries. Two of the patients are still minors. The other two are 19 years old but they were also minors when they underwent spinal surgeries.
The boy patient in Meishan county could still walk by himself and even climbed stairs in the hospital before his surgery, in spite of a bit of deformity in his legs. But after having the Xiao Procedure in September 2007, his legs with parts of nerves cut off started to fester. Two years later, both of his legs had to be amputated at a local hospital of Meishan.
The parents of this boy cherished great hope before the surgery because the hospital had promised them a success rate of 85%, which means most of the patients could get cured. They trusted the doctors because the doctors were kind and looked very trustful. After the boy was already on the operation bed, the parents were asked to sign a consent form right before the surgery, as if it were just a routine procedure. No explanation was offered, so they signed the form without understanding the risk of serious complications at all.
The second child in Shanxi province could walk as well before the surgery, but is disabled now. After the surgery, the muscles of his feet and legs started to atrophy and now his lower extremities are apparently deformed. One year ago before the surgery, it costed 1000 Chinese Yuan a year to buy diapers for his incontinence. But now, not only his legs are disabled, but also his previous incontinence gets more severe. In 2008, he had a medical examination in Jishuitan hospital in Beijing, and was told by the doctor that it was impossible to restore to the same status as before by performing any further surgery on his legs.
The third kid in Deyang county was thought being lucky by his mother initially after the Xiao Procedure. Her kid was still very young and the case was not very severe before surgery. She was happy that the disease seemed to be cured a little and at least did not get worse as others after surgeries. But half a year later, the leg which was operated started to shrink and became thinner.
“The whole journey was very depressing,” Lin Liu said, “It was cruel to ask the patients any questions.”
According to Liu, these kids who were harmed by the Xiao Procedure were less naughty or active, and were not curious about strangers, but kept silence to themselves. Their parents cannot help weeping as telling others their miserable stories after the surgery. “They were waiting with hopes for the surgery, but now their hopes were broken, and eventually they fall in despair. I could feel their pain.” Liu said to the News.
All the kids dropped out of schools and they don’t want to go back. One was in the middle school before Xiao Procedure and gave up school later. He is just a small boy, but he can neither walk nor play as other kids, which is not convenient to him.
Lin Liu also said to News that she would follow up with more patients having the Xiao Procedure. She is collecting more evidences to refute the possible argument in court from the advocators of the Xiao Procedure, which are insisting that these are only individual cases of unsuccessful surgeries. One patient by the name of Little Shanshan advertised by the doctors as a special case is actually a failure too after the Xiao Procedure. “We have been trying our best to find a successful case, but we can’t.” she said.
As for financial situation of the patient family, Lin Liu told the News, the one in Meishan county is able to pay the operation fee, but the parents are very angry at the hospital, because they were cheated and harmed. They want to sue the hospital not just for recouping their expenses. The kid in Deyang, his family has several kids and his operation fee was paid by his relatives. The one in Guangyuan also told her that they want to sue the hospital not just to recover the operation fee of the Xiao Procedure, but they want the justice to be done.The last one in Shanxi province, his father was a coal miner and is laid-off now. This family is living in the cave of a mountain and has no heating in this cold winter. His father raises 30 pigs and needs to save the heating for the piggy cubs, otherwise they will get sick in the cold. He has finished high school and wanted to make the justice to be done as well. These patients are preparing for suing the hospital who misleads them for the Xiao Procedure with misleading and false statements on the surgical risks and effectiveness.