Acupuncturist Went Too Deep, Punctured Patient's Lungs

Illustration for article titled Acupuncturist Went Too Deep, Punctured Patient's Lungs
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The New Zealand Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) has admonished an acupuncturist for going too deep, way too deep.

On Monday Commissioner Anthony Hill released a report determining that the practitioner breached the Health and Disability Consumers’ Rights code when she turned her client’s lungs into pin cushions.

According to the report—first flagged by the New Zealand Herald—on March 2, 2018, the client was receiving treatment for an injury on her left wrist and arm. The acupuncturist stuck two pins in the unnamed woman’s “Jian Jing” pressure points at the top of both her shoulders. The client told HDC the needles felt “extremely deep.” A half-hour later, the practitioner removed the needles and the client “experienced a sudden onset of right-sided chest pain and shortness of breath,” according to the HDC report. In a horrifying phrase that I’ve never heard before, the report says that the client (victim?) began to experience “‘air’ sensation around both lungs”—a sensation that you should definitely never feel around your lungs.


The acupuncturist reportedly told the patient to rest-off the pain. When the woman laid down at home she noticed her right chest felt numb and her left chest hurt, so her husband took her to a medical clinic, which referred her to an emergency room where she was diagnosed with collapsed lungs.

The acupuncturist told HDC that she told the client that collapsed lung was a slight risk of this needle placement. However, the client told HDC that the practitioner did not tell her that the needles would be close to her lungs or that the placement could cause an injury.

Commissioner Hill sided with the patient and decided that the acupuncturist breached the health code by not properly informing her client of the risks and not obtaining written consent prior to sticking needles into her body.

Hill recommended the acupuncturist undergo more acupuncture training and have the auditor determine if she is giving clients proper information and obtaining consent, and should then show HDC the results of the audit and proof of the continuing education.


If you ever decide to get needles stuck in you after hearing about this horror show, at least ask what the potential injuries could be.

Former senior reporter at Gizmodo

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I’ve seen the needle and the damage done.

Acupuncture’s not for everyone

But every accident's like the setting sun.