During acupuncture, the therapist nearly killed the patient

The 33-year-old patient turned to acupuncture to get rid of pain in the upper part of the shoulder caused by a hand injury. To cure her, the acupuncturist decided to place two needles at a point called “Jian Jing, ” located in a recess above the scapula. During the procedure, the patient felt pain, and, as she later said, both punctures were “very deep”, and the needles in the body were left for half an hour.

At the time of needle extraction, the patient felt severe pain in her right chest and shortness of breath. Later at night, her husband was forced to take her to the hospital. According to the New Zealand Herald, doctors diagnosed the patient with bilateral apical pneumothorax - collapse of the lung on both sides of the body due to a puncture.

During the trial, it turned out that this was due to the wrong choice of acupuncture point. Such cases, unfortunately, are not uncommon for this practice. The risk is especially high when puncturing the Jian Jing point: in 2010, researchers found that 30% of all cases of lung punctures are associated with it. The thing is that the safe depth of the puncture in this case varies from person to person. In addition, there are a number of important anatomical features that somehow affect the procedure itself. A WHO report said that “the surface of the lung is approximately 10–20 mm below the skin level in the area of ​​the medial scapular or midclavicular line”. This may explain the high frequency of pneumothorax during punctures in this area - so be careful.

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