South China Morning Post reported on September 9 that a top hospital in China had been plunged into scandal after a senior doctor misdiagnosed a baby with a tumor that turned out to be a lotus seed shell stuck in his mouth.

An 11-month-old baby, surnamed Chen, was about to undergo surgery to eliminate the supposed tumor when it accidentally fell off after a different doctor touched it with a cotton bud.

According to Beijing Times, the seed shell fell out of the baby’s mouth during a check-up at another hospital.

After finding a lump on the roof of the baby’s mouth, the family took him to see Dr. Jian Xinchun at Xiangya Hospital in Changsha, central China’s Hunan province.

The boy’s father said the doctor told them the lump was a congenital tumor and advised an operation to remove it and a biopsy.

According to the boy’s father, the doctor advised them to wait for an unknown period for the operation because all the beds at the hospital were full.

The family then took the child to another hospital, hoping that the waiting time for the operation would be less.

The father said a doctor checked his son’s mouth many times. When the doctor touched the lump with a cotton swab on the last occasion, it suddenly fell out.

The family believes the boy inadvertently put the shell in his mouth after buying lotus seeds during a trip in August.

The family has openly accused Jian of malpractice and said the misdiagnosis made the family fearful and stressed.

Xiangya Hospital told the Beijing Times that it had opened an investigation into the incident. Hospital staff told the newspaper that the hospital would explain the incident to the family later.

The case shocked the Chinese public and sparked a heated debate over hospital standards.

On the Toutiao app, one user commented that calling it a tumor is a harsh diagnosis. Could they be more careful before jumping to that conclusion?

Another joked about the need for a DNA test for the shell.

However, several people also pointed out that the problem could be due to China’s limited medical supplies and the heavy workload of doctors in public hospitals.

One Weibo user said he believes it is because major public hospitals are always very crowded, and doctors must attend to each patient quickly.

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