SHANGHAI - Staff at two Chinese hospitals have been punished after their failure to follow proper medical procedures caused 14 patients to be infected with HIV and hepatitis B, state media reported on Friday.
The two separate incidents are the latest to shake public trust in China's healthcare system, the image of which has been hit in recent years by cases involving bribes and the use of unapproved treatments.
In the first case, five people were infected with human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that causes AIDS, at a hospital in coastal Zhejiang province after a staff worker reused a tube during an unspecified procedure, the China Daily newspaper said, citing health authorities.
The staff member was detained by police and administrative punishments were given to several others at the Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a major public hospital in Hangzhou city.
In the second incident, nine patients at a hospital in eastern Shandong province were infected with the hepatitis B virus after staff in the hospital's haemodialysis unit operated against regulations, state news agency Xinhua said.
Several hospital staff were sacked, among them the head and deputy head of the People's Hospital in Qingdao city, who were also removed from their Communist Party posts.
China's healthcare system treats 1.4 billion people and is the world's second largest drugs market behind the United States.