The hospital includes a key specialty center, a PLA laboratory, and one of the largest transplant centers in southern China. It was one of the earliest in China to conduct kidney transplants and began performing liver transplants in 2004.915 916
Its liver transplant center has 108 beds and can simultaneously carry out two liver transplants and one regular surgery. Patient rooms are well-equipped with amenities, including air conditioning, televisions, telephones, central gas, intercoms, refrigerators, and microwaves. The center also has five “presidential suites” with high-speed internet access.917
Yu Zhouyao is a former vice president of the PLA No. 458 Hospital, vice director of the PLA Liver Disease Research Institute, a high-level Air Force official, and an adjunct professor at Southern Medical University. He led a team of specialists to perform the hospital’s first orthotopic liver transplant.918
This department has one chief surgeon, 3 associate chief surgeons, 2 staff members with PhDs, and 3 with master’s degrees.919
Is website states, “Our hospital is one of the medical units qualified for liver transplants as designated by the Ministry of Health. Guangdong currently has five medical organizations qualified to perform liver transplants. [We] have very rich clinical experience in liver transplantation. Our hospital’s liver transplant surgery department has completed around 150 liver transplants; each year, more than 20 liver transplants are completed here.” 920 In 2006, a Lifeweek report titled “Medical Stories Behind the Lens” featured a segment regarding liver transplants at this hospital: 921
On September 28, 2006, Dr. Sun Ningdong of the PLA 458 Hospital’s hepatobiliary surgery department hosted his first photography exhibition. Sun was most proud of one photo that had won many photography awards, “It’s Again the Dead of Night.” That was a scene of the hospital’s first liver transplant: “At that time, this
surgery had already lasted 6 hours at night. Some people were dozing off, and some were moving. If you magnify it, you can see the eyes of the lead surgeon–they are really bright.” The 458 Hospital has now performed over 140 liver transplants…
This report shows that in the two years after its first liver transplant in 2004, this hospital carried out more than 140 liver transplants. Twelve years later, however, its total number of liver transplants has not grown on paper.
If this were really the case, the hospital could not have maintained its certification by the Ministry of Health. The hospital also self-reported doing 20 liver transplants each year (the minimum requirement to maintain its Ministry approval). Based on this number, by 2016 it should have performed nearly 400 liver transplants. Using a conservative figure of 70 cases per year from the media report, it would have accumulated nearly 1,000 liver transplants to date. Based on the hospital’s ability to carry out two transplants simultaneously, if we assume that each operating room is used only once per day (otherwise, only one operating room for liver transplants would suffice), it would have performed 800 per year, or 10,000 to date. We estimate that the hospital’s public numbers represent about 1/70 of its actual liver transplant volume.
Kidney transplantation is a traditional program of the hospital’s urologic surgery department. “Since our department carried out its first kidney transplant in the early 1990s, it has helped many uremia patients attain new lives. Our department, along with the dialysis center and the liver disease center, collaborated to develop an abdominal organ transplant program, enabling our hospital’s transplant skill to grow quickly and become one of the large-scale organ transplant centers in southern China.”922
The hospital’s kidney transplant department is a key development area and can routinely provide various types of kidney and stem cell transplants. It integrates
traditional Chinese and Western medicine to treat chronic transplant kidney disease. Over years of development focusing on kidney transplants, it has formed specialties in blood purification, stem cell transplants, and multi-organ transplants.923
The department has an independent ward with 35 regular beds and 4 ICU beds. Patient rooms are bright and spacious, with air conditioning, central gas, central paging, and cable television. The department has 20 medical personnel, including 7 physicians with senior and intermediate titles and 4 with master’s degrees. On average, they have more than 10 years of clinical experience in urologic surgery.
Yet, this “large-scale transplant center in southern China” declares that it performs only more than 50 kidney transplants annually. This kind of volume would require fewer than 4 beds. Based on its public kidney transplant volume being 2.5 times that of its liver transplants, it is very possible that its actual number of kidney transplants is proportional to that of its liver transplants, in which case its actual kidney transplant volume may be nearly 2,000 per year.
An insider reported, “From 2003 to 2004, there were 5 to 10 kidneys shipped to the hospital every 2 to 3 days on average, usually at midnight and escorted by armed plainclothes policemen. Every few days, the plainclothes officers took away large amounts of cash. Most of the kidney recipients were foreigners.”924
The hospital had abundant cornea supplies that could not only provide for itself but also enable it to supply other hospitals. On May 15, 2011, the director of the ophthalmology department, Jing Lianxi, visited Purei Eye Hospital in Shanghai and promised to provide Purei with a stable supply of high-quality corneal transplant material.925