Monday, April 02, 2007

Do the Chinese Really Pee Green Tea?

tidbits that tantalize

Are You Sure

This Is

Green TEA??

This could get tricky. You have a decision to make and you have to act fast. You're traveling in China on vacation and suspect you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI). Your train leaves in a few hours, the hospital's over a mile away and - to be totally candid - you really have to pee right now...

OK - you've made your choice. Though it would have seemed rather bizarre just a couple weeks ago, the locals have assured you this is how "it's" done. And, really, it's kind of nice to turn in a lab sample and relieve - sorry - your other pressing need without making a mad, holding it in, crossed-legged dash to the hospital. Still, you wonder exactly how the Chinese will be able to diagnose a UTI from the cup of green tea you've been sipping...

Are the Chinese onto a revolutionary medical discovery? Well...

In a "Welcome to freedom of the press" exercise, a group of Chinese reporters set out to assess the integrity of China's ailing health care system. They submitted green tea to ten hospitals as urine samples. The hospitals were all located in Hangzhou, a prosperous city of several million residents.

The results?

It appears 6 of the 10 tea samples were suffering from the aforementioned UTI. The other 4 were in perfect health. Doctors at the hospitals, including 4 that were state owned, prescribed expensive medications to treat the mysterious green tea symptoms.

China's health care system is under tremendous financial pressure, even as the nation's economy soars. Failed reforms and rising heath care costs have left many citizens without basic care and have opened the door for unscrupulous providers to prey upon the sick. Reuters quotes a Chinese newspaper commentary that reflects the widely held belief the health care system is corrupt, "Patients have become automatic teller machines for the hospitals."

Well, the results are back. Looks like you were right - the lab confirms you have a UTI. You just have time to hit the pharmacy and pick up your prescription, but... This can't be right. While your Chinese isn't the greatest, you could swear the prescription reads, "Drink two cups of Green Pee and call me in the morning."


To read more about the tea-for-urine scandal, see this from Reuters.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahahaha! Funny, Tim! And too true. My brother lived in Ghangzhou for six months teaching ESL. The nice thing is that you don't even always need a prescription. You can buy antibiotics over the counter in China! Geri Wurth

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw your blog, it is very informative. I also have a blog that has a huge collection of medical books.

Medical Ebooks and tutorials

7:51 AM  
Anonymous tea said...

A little funny, a little offensive. And the answer is no they do not pee green tea.

7:47 AM  

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