Warning! false std/vd diagnosis!


#1

The other day, a friend who is applying for an alien residence certificate (ARC) phoned me in a panic because he had tested positive for a “new strain” of syphilis.

I advised him to go to the STD clinic in Ximending, which he did. They told him he did not have syphilis or any other kind of sexually transmitted disease (STD). The hospital he went to for the original test lied to him, either to rip him off for the cost of treatment, or possibly to fill some kind of quota for failed tests. So, BE WARNED! If you get tested positive for sexually transmitted disease, go for a second opinion at the government approved STD clinic in Ximending.

My friend declined to tell me which hospital gave him the false diagnosis, but, judging by his description, it was the Ren’ai Hospital. (The initial tests were done in a small building out back, followed by a blood test and an X-ray on the 2nd floor of the main building.) If this happens to anyone else, please tell the police and make a posting in this forum to warn others!


#2

Aren’t you jumping to conclusions? There are always various factors that can make a medical test appear to be falsely positive or falsely negative. Medical researchers call them “false-positives” and “false-negatives”. They occur in all kinds of tests.

If you’ve read anything about the drug testing that athletes go through, then you’d know that they sometimes get false-positives for performance enhancing drugs when they’re taking prescription medications for a cold or some other performance dampening maladies.

While it certainly is possible that some dishonest clinicians in Taiwan (and elsewhere) lie to their patients about test results, unless you have evidence of a pattern of such behavior by a particular hospital, clinic, testing lab, or doctor, you might want to think twice about making such a serious allegation and naming who you think is the guilty party.

You open yourself up for a liable suit if you knowingly make false public claims. Your post contains nothing but a few facts and lots of conclusions you have drawn without providing any evidence of their validity or truth.

I would suggest that you change your handle to “Chicken Little” for future posts like this one.


#3

A lawsuit? For what? Spreading Urban Myths? Hardy har har. As if the hospital he mentioned is going to track the person down and sue him. Sure, hospitals in Taiwan make mistakes like this all the time – like when they wrote on an ex-colleague of mine’s ARC health form that HE was pregnant.


#4

No, for claiming that the hospital or lab knowingly and deliberately falsified a clinical test for financial gain. You’d better check out the difference between an urban myth and an libel.

Chances are that you’re right about their not going to the trouble to track Juba down for his statement, but that was not my point. If you had bothered to read everything I said, you’d have seen that I was criticizing his unjustified and unsupported conclusion about the error and his indiscretion in mentioning the name of a hospital even though his friend did not tell him which one it was.

Maybe you ought to take some reading comprehesion lessons and learn a bit about rhetoric before you spew more scorn here.

Another piece of anecdotal evidence amounting to nothing more than a mote. I’m sure the hospitals and doctors where you come from never make mistakes. The next time you get sick, be sure to go back home for decent treatment by “real doctors”.


#5

I obviously don’t know the exact facts or circumstnaces in this particular case, but as a foreigner who’s had my share of health exams at good ol’ Jen-ai Hospital, I can say that I would not go out of my way to defend any hospital whose idea of a physical exam is saying “ni hao” and then marking off that one’s heart, lungs, kidneys, stomach and Lord knows what else are all “normal”! They spend far more time with the color-blindness tests than with any real examination that might require actual diagnostic skill.

And – for Westerners – what is this insistence on exposing us to unneeded radiation? The tine test works just fine for non-Chinese as a TB screen – that’s why it’s widely used in schools in the West. X-Rays are usually only needed for Chinese, who, according to my aunt who is a nurse, show too many false positives on the tine tests for them to be useful.

I’m not saying they did or did not falsify on this one, but when they start showing me professionalism and ethics (to me, taking my money to give me this certificate without actually giving me a bona fide physical exam is unethical!) I’ll give them more benefit of the doubt.

The above, of course, is merely my own layman’s opinion, and should not be construed as being a libelous post concerning Jen-Ai Hospital, the medical system in Taiwan, or any translation company operating, legally or illegally, on the island. :unamused:


#6

Possible motive no. 1 was my guess - motive no. 2. was my friend’s guess. Yes, maybe it was just an unfortunate accident, but having an STD is a serious matter, especially for a prospective teacher in Taiwan. If false positives can occur so easily, then the patient should be entitled to a free second test to make sure, don’t you think?

I must say I would never have expected the kind of hostile response I’ve had from Huizhe for warning fellow expatriates about this problem. By the way, Mr. “English instructor,” what is a “liable suit”? :laughing:


#7

Possible motive no. 1 was my guess - motive no. 2. was my friend’s guess. Yes, maybe it was just an unfortunate accident…[/quote]

I think the original respondant’s meaning is quite clear and correct. Juba should not have stated as a “fact” what was/is really nothing more than speculative opinion. Given the problems we have all witnessed concerning the translation business, it should be evident by now that making accusations and naming names should be done so with extreme caution.

By all means warn that tests may be false and second confirmation testing should be done. But that could well have been accomplished without libeling the hospital and its staff.

A bit catty, and irrelevant too.


#8

I’m not sure telling the cops you tested positive for an STD would accomplish anything except possibly a trip to the alien detention center to await deportation. It’s hardly going to prompt a raid by the boys in blue on a hospital now is it?


#9

It is a fact that a wrong diagnosis was given - I only speculated as to the reason. The hospital staff are either liars or incompetent. Where is the libel?


#10

No Juba, that isn’t what you posted. You stated that the the hospital “lied” regarding the test results. You posted the following statement:

You stated that the hospital “lied” and speculated as to the reason that the hospital did so. Your statement accusing the hospital of lying is libelous, unless you can prove that in fact the hospital did lie.

It is possible that the test failed for a number of reasons, such as human error in giving the test or the test, like many others, could be prone to giving false results, or the test could have given a correct result that was, through human error, recorded incorrectly. In any of these cases, the hospital would not have “lied” and may not have been “incompetent”.


#11

To be honest I dont see how they would make a lot of money by giving your friend a false positive on his test. Many tests have high false positive rates, sometime doctors will use a quick cheap test that can pick up a lot of false positives in order to save time and money on more expensive tests further down the line.

It seems like paranoia to me. This sort of thing happens all the time in hospitals in the west too. Better your friend got a false positive test than a false negative right?

You want to check this link below :stuck_out_tongue:

raktadan.org/testing_of_dono … _infec.asp


#12

I’m with Juba on this one. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Jubes!

And Ironlady’s remarks were bang on target as well.

I don’t think we should be too ready to excuse mistakes by the medical establishment. We place an extremely high degree of trust in their skills, and therefore they owe us a correspondingly high duty of care. Any mistakes in diagnosis or treatment are a cause for very grave concern. Rather more than mere “motes”. Perhaps the poor parents of the new-born baby that died over the weekend after being accidentally injected with a lethal muscle-relaxant, or the husband and family of the woman who died of totally preventable causes soon after childbirth in the same women’s and children’s hospital shortly afterwards, would have something to say on the subject. Or are they mere motes as well, something to be just flicked off the sleeve and forgotten?


#13

Yes, if Juba had merely brough to our attention that a test had a false result, or that any test result of concern should be reconfirmed, I too would applaud Juba for the warning and for posting the site for the government testing center in Hsimenting. But he could have brought this to our attention without accusing the hospital of lying.

The issue is not whteher we should be excusing the hospital of medical malpractice, but rather is whether we should be accusing the hospital of medical dishonesty. These are quite different matters.

Yes, of course… but mistakes are not lies and lies are not mistakes. Lies are intentional.

I’m certain that they would have plenty to say. But the fact remains… you stated so yourself above… the poor baby was “accidentally” injected with muscle-relaxant… not intentionally injected with muscle-relaxant.

Of course they are not to be forgotten… but they are to be dealt with differently… even if the same unfortunate consequence resulted.


#14

I’m with Tigerman on this one. Mistakes and lies are different and should be treated differently.


#15

Did you ask your friend was he recommended to go for a second test, as this is quite common after an initial positive result (e.g. HIV testing, tubercolosis) ?

There are many reasons why the test could have given a positive initially

  1. Your friend cleared the infection naturally
  2. The test is sensitive to spirochite bacteria (of which syphilis is one)
  3. The test was correct and the second test was incorrect :shock:
  4. The test was out of date or there was an error in processing
  5. There was a communication problem with the nurse or doctor
  6. They were trying to make money out of him

Of all of the above which suggestion is the most unlikely?

Why would a hospital which is pretty famous for treating foreigners want to do this…and do you think the doctors would really go in for this when they could ruin their medical careers and fat salaries?


#16

Did you ask your friend was he recommended to go for a second test, as this is quite common after an initial positive result (e.g. HIV testing, tubercolosis) ?

There are many reasons why the test could have given a positive initially

  1. Your friend cleared the infection naturally
  2. The test is sensitive to spirochite bacteria (of which syphilis is one)
  3. The test was correct and the second test was incorrect :shock:
  4. The test was out of date or there was an error in processing
  5. There was a communication problem with the nurse or doctor
  6. They were trying to make money out of him

Of all of the above which suggestion is the most unlikely?

Why would a hospital which is pretty famous for treating foreigners want to do this…and do you think the doctors would really go in for this when they could ruin their medical careers and fat salaries?


#17

The hospital told this person a falsehood, namely that he had a particular disease. Since intention is not proven, “lie” may not have been the best word to choose.

The following article is very informative, showing that false positive results for syphilis tests are quite common: Baffled by a blood test

However, a competent clinic would be aware of this. Note the following passages:[quote]False positives can also occur through laboratory error and are not biologic false positives. Simply repeating the test will usually disclose this…

Most laboratories will do a confirmatory test which is much more sensitive and specific.[/quote]
A competent clinic would have given the person another, more specific test, or referred him to a specialist clinic for that purpose. That was not done in this case (to answer Headhoncho’s question) - It was I who gave him the address of the STD clinic in Ximending.


#18

A “falsehood” is a statement or assertion known to be untrue, and intended to deceive. More than likely, the hospital made a mistake, or the test gave an incorrect result due to inherent imperfections in the test or the test givers.

I’m not a physician or even a healthcare worker, so I’m not certain what a “competent” clinic would or would not have done in this situation. However, the issue of competency is very different from the issue of making an untrue statement or assertion intended to deceive the person to whom the statement is directed.


#19

No, a falsehood is just something that is untrue - It may or may not be intended to deceive. You are equating “falsehood” with “lie,” but they are not exactly the same. If you can think of a better word to describe something that may have been thought by the person who said it to be true, but was in fact false, please tell us. I’ll let you have the last word on it, if you insist.


#20

Seems to me that the hospital told Juba’s friend that he had tested positive for syphilis. The easy way to prove that this is a falsehood, lie, or vanilla-topped custard pudding would simply be to take a look at Juba’s friends health certificate. If it says negative, then they lied or told a falsehood. If it says positive, then they did not tell a lie or a falsehood.

Did Juba’s friend ask the hospital for a second test? If he did, and they refused, then I’d say its a pretty sorry state of affairs, but why would you expect the hospital to volunteer a second test without being asked?

Tangent time: Last time I took the car for a service, they called me up and said I needed a new oil filter. Fair enough, no problem. A few days later I went to pick up the car. Hmmm, sounds and feels a bit funny – you’d never think it had just been serviced. Took it back. “Of course it sounds a bit funny. We told you it needs a new oil filter.”

“What, you called me up to tell me about it, but didn’t do anything about it? What about the air in the tyres? Some of that’s new, but you didn’t wait for my express instruction to go ahead and pump up the tyres, did you? I noticed you also changed the oil but I don’t recall getting a phone call about that, either…”

You know as well as anyone, Juba, that if you want something done here you have to ask for it. If your friend didn’t ask, tough luck. If he DID ask and was refused, that’s another story altogether.