An acupuncturist who punctured a patient's lungs while giving her treatment for an arm and wrist injury has been found to be in breach of the Health and Disability Consumers' Rights code.

The acupuncturist was treating the woman's jian jing points on both sides of her shoulders and inserted the needles in too deeply, leaving the woman with chest pain and shortness of breath, according to findings released by the Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill.

The acupuncturist then withdrew the needles and provided additional treatment until the patient said she felt better. She then sent her home and told her to rest up.

But when the patient went home to rest she began feeling extremely unwell and her left chest was in pain and her right chest was numb.


Her husband took her to the accident and medical clinic later that evening who referred her to the emergency department at the hospital who diagnosed her with a bilateral apical pneumothoraces caused by the acupuncture.

Hill found the acupuncturist breached the code when she failed to tell the patient there was a risk of pneumothorax or a collapsed lung and getting written consent before she carried out needling to her jian jing points in March 2018.

He also criticised her for not providing services with reasonable care and skill when she did not pick up that she had punctured the woman's lungs and sent her home.

Hill recommended the acupuncturist carry out further training on acupuncture needling techniques and provide the HDC with evidence it had been completed and carry out an audit on audit on whether existing clients had received an information brochure and provided a written consent.

He also recommended the clinic the woman worked in developed formal policies ensuring consent is obtained from clients.

Meanwhile a paramedic has been told to apologise to a patient after not providing accurate advise to the husband of a woman who was bleeding from a Caesarean section wound.

Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall said the paramedic should have prioritised the job and warned the husband not to move his wife and to wait for an ambulance.

Ms Wall was critical that the paramedic did not upgrade the green response code, and did not instruct the man to apply pressure to the wound. She recommended he carry out further training.