It’s an ill-kept secret that China is full of various counterfeits and bootlegs. The truth of it seems harmless enough when it’s limited to Hollywood films but recently the existence of phony ambulances has been brought to light by Beijing’s Morning Post. Apparently, China’s emergency medical transport system has been dispatching ill-suited medical vans and pulling in quite a profit doing so.

The story came to light thanks to a man named Lin, living in the city of Wenzhou. His wife had contracted a serious illness and was admitted into the intensive care unit of their local hospital, where she stayed for 40 days. It was then decided that she should be transferred to another hospital in Hangzhou, approximately 250 miles away. Obviously, she would not be able to survive such a long journey without appropriate medical care, and so an ambulance was called in. However, unbeknownst to anyone at the hospital, the artificial respirator on the ambulance was broken, and the medical staff on board had not been trained to handle anything related to terminal illnesses. Using a manual for necessary reference, the ambulance staff hooked the poor woman up to their broken respirator and drove off.

A short time after departing the hospital, Lin’s wife was struggling to breathe. Within minutes she was coughing up blood. The ambulance was forced to return to the original hospital, and the patient was returned to the ICU. By the following day she was still in a critical condition.

Lin was certain to contact the authorities about this suspicious, so-called ambulance. Surprisingly, the ambulance was legitimately registered with the government and belonged to a certain privately owned hospital. However, it was only certified to carry patients with non-life-threatening external wounds.

When Beijing’s Morning Post asked the vice-chair of the hospital why such an ill-equipped ambulance was sent to carry a critically ill patient for such a long distance, the man laughed and shirked all responsibility saying that they had no real understanding of the situation. He blames the problem on an overall lack of management for ambulances.

Why the city lacks the power to manage their emergency vehicles makes little sense, as they seem to receive plenty of funds. According to the owner and the driver of the ambulance which sparked all of this conversation, although this particular vehicle is owned by an individual, every time they are called to dispatch by the city’s emergency reception office, the person in charge of reception is given 20 percent on the transport fees as remuneration. These ambulance fees must be paid entirely by the patient, and are in no way cheap.

I’m starting to think that if I’m ever sick in China, I might spring for a taxi instead of an ambulance. At the very least, the fare is cheaper.

Source: Epoch Times (Japanese)