Woman's Lungs Collapse After Acupuncture Treatment

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Woman's Lungs Collapse After Acupuncture Treatment

 

Acupuncture is known to relieve pain by inserting very thin needles through a person’s skin at specific points on the body. Previous studies showed that this treatment can help people with low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, headaches and migraines. But this is not what happened to a 33-year-old woman from New Zealand. 

Last March, the woman decided to go to an acupuncture clinic after being injured in the arm and wrist, causing pain in her shoulders. Her acupuncturist inserted two needles near Gallbladder 21, a spot which lies near the top of the shoulders. However, it accidentally pierced her lungs, causing the organ to collapse. According to Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture and history, the report filed by New Zealand’s Health and Disability Commissioner stated that the patient felt a twinge of pain while the needles were being inserted. She also said that the instruments felt “extremely deep.”

 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

 

It was found that the needles were inserted dangerously close to the apices of the lungs. According to the World Health Organization, the surface of the lung lies only 0.4 to 0.8 inches (10 to 20 millimeters) beneath the skin. The report also stated that the patient felt a sudden "right-sided chest pain and shortness of breath” because the acupuncturist left the needles in for 30 minutes before twisting and removing them. Although the patient had difficulty breathing during that time, the acupuncturist sent her home. 

 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

 

Later that night, the woman was rushed to the emergency department after she felt persistent pain in the left side of her chest and numbness on the right side. In the hospital, the doctors found that both her lungs had collapsed due to the acupuncture treatment. She was diagnosed with bilateral apical pneumothoraces. The New Zealand Herald recommended that the acupuncturist undergo additional training.

 

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