NYC Man Charged With Unlicensed Acupuncture Gone Wrong

Prosecutors say man who never applied for license collapsed both his patient's lungs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 19, 2023 1:06 PM CDT
Unlicensed Acupuncturist Charged in Patient's Lung Collapse
Acupuncture is probably something you'd want a licensed professional for.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

A New York City man has been charged with performing acupuncture without a license after he punctured a woman's lungs during treatment, sending her to a hospital for emergency surgery, prosecutors announced. Yong De Lin, 66, was arraigned on four criminal charges Monday in connection with unlicensed treatments he performed on 63-year-old Shujuan Jiang between May and October of last year, said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. According to the indictment, Jiang, 63, visited a medical office in the Flushing section of Queens on May 10, 2022, for relief of stomach and back pain, and was introduced to Lin.

As the AP reports, Lin administered 17 treatments to Jiang over the next several months even though he is not a licensed acupuncturist and has never applied for a New York state license to practice acupuncture, Katz said. Jiang began to feel unwell during the last session on Oct. 28, Katz said in a news release, adding that Lin performed additional acupuncture and a cupping treatment before sending Jiang home. Jiang collapsed on the sidewalk on her way home, and a bystander called 911. At the hospital, it was determined that both of her lungs had collapsed because of the acupuncture treatments, said Katz. Lifesaving surgery was performed and Jiang remained hospitalized for six days.

"The difference between receiving health care from a competent, licensed professional or someone who is unlicensed can mean the difference between life and death," Katz said, adding that Lin "very nearly killed his patient." Lin was charged with assault in the first and second degrees, reckless endangerment in the first degree, and unauthorized practice of a profession. He is due back in court Wednesday. Lin's attorney, Kathleen Gallo, didn't immediately reply to a Tuesday voicemail seeking comment. (More acupuncture stories.)

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