Vietnamese nurse who caused genital warts outbreak to face trial

By Viet Dung   July 14, 2018 | 04:00 pm PT
Vietnamese nurse who caused genital warts outbreak to face trial
Hoang Thi Hien is accused of using unsterilized devices to treat phimosis that caused genital warts to 103 children. Photo by VnExpress/Nam Phuong
A Vietnamese nurse can be prosecuted for providing unlicensed medical checks and treatment that caused infection to 103 children.

Police in the northern province of Hung Yen have recommended that Hoang Thi Hien, 49, be charged with the criminal offense of seriously violating regulations on providing medical treatment that severely affected children’s health and physical development, they said Friday.

The genital warts outbreak occurred in July last year with around 80 boys, most of them under two years old, being diagnosed with the HPV infection, prompting health inspectors and police officers to launch a probe to identify the cause.

Genital warts are caused by some strains of human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can lead to vulva, penile and anal cancer. The disease is more often sexually transmitted.

According to investigators, most of the infected infants had earlier received treatment for phimosis at Hien's unlicensed home clinic in Khoai Chau District, around 40 kilometers to the northwest of Hanoi.

Phimosis is a condition in which the foreskin of the penis cannot be pulled back past the glans.

The inspection found that Hien had used unsterilized devices in treating phimosis by widening the congenital foreskin. Her carelessness had caused the disease to spread, police said.

Hien, who is not a qualified doctor, had opened a private clinic at home to provide genital examinations for children, charging VND300,000 ($13) to VND500,000 ($21) per treatment.

At least 103 children had been treated at the clinic for phimosis between late 2016 and mid-2017, and most of them were infected with HPV.

She was taken into custody last December pending further investigation into the outbreak. 

Police are pressing charges of violations in health-check and treatment regulations, which can be punished by up to 15 years in jail.

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