Skeptics News: Acupunctured lung

Acupuncture is a popular alternative and complementary medicine technique – the evidence base for it’s efficacy is poor for many conditions and slim at best overall. Though some have argued that this is due to a lack of funding for high quality research others have pointed out it might just be because there is no reason acupuncture should work for many conditions beyond a placebo effect.

Despite question marks over it’s effective as a treatment it does remain popular however one Norwegian woman, Camilla Wold ,  got slightly more than she bargained for when she decided on a course of acupuncture to treat her back pain…

Seung Yong Ji, who the Norwegian Acupuncture Society states was an unlicensed practitioner, punctured her lung during a treatment session. Camilla reported feelings of discomfort and breathing difficulties to Yong Ji advised her to press her ear when it hurt. Camillas left and her condition soon worsened and she made her way to the hospital.

This is the third case of lung puncture by acupuncture doctor Steinar Kiil has seen in his ten years at Ullevål Hospital in Oslo and the doctor suspects that there may be more unreported cases. However the doctor also noted that he has no issue with acupuncture or other complementary or alternative medicines noting that everyone makes mistakes.

Yong Ji claims that he is not responsible for the injury and also claims to be a member of the Norwegian Acupuncture Society however he appears on none of it’s membership lists. The society, although it currently has no powers to regulate practitioners, has recommended that people seeking acupuncture do so only from registered members.

A similar case occurred in  2004 when an acupuncturist in Stavanger was sentenced to a 45-day suspended sentence  after he poked holes in the lungs of a female patient.

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