Health care

Doctor responds to criticism over severed fingers care

A Rockville grandmother had to fly for Taiwan after struggling to find treatment

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News4 previously interviewed a Rockville grandmother who severed two of her fingertips with a lawn mower. Shuchen Wang says she struggled to find affordable care at two different healthcare facilities and ended up seeking treatment in Taiwan. One of those facilities has responded.

The family had filed a complaint with the D.C. Health Department against Dr. Shahreyar Hashemi at the Nerve, Bone, and Joint Institute in Foggy Bottom. News4 tried twice to interview Dr. Hashemi, but have been unsuccessful. His attorneys sent News4 a lengthy response this week, pushing back on several allegations made by the family.

Wang says she and her daughter, Yiyu Chen, took an ambulance to Suburban Hospital, where a physician assistant allegedly told them there was no one who could treat that type of injury.

The family says the PA gave them a piece of paper and told them to Uber to Dr. Hashemi in D.C. because he was the only local doctor qualified to help.

The family said at the Nerve, Bone and Joint Institute, staff allegedly informed them they did not take insurance and required full payment up front.

Chen said she tried to call other clinics to find one that did take insurance, but Dr. Hashemi allegedly told her to stop.

“He said this is a private property, and you are not supposed to make phone calls to other providers,” she said. “I felt the sense of emergency that my mom needs to be treated the same day. I feel like we had no option but to accept the surgery he suggested.”

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A statement sent to News4 by Attorneys for Dr. Hashemi and the Nerve Bone and Joint Institute said, “The clinic’s attorneys say that at no time was the patient pressured into receiving care at the institute, the family spent an hour in the office discussing their options, making phone calls to their insurer and deciding whether to stay for a consultation, chose to stay for a consultation, and received a good faith cost estimate, as well as short and long term payment options.”

The family told News4 Dr. Hashemi allegedly refused to start the operation until they completed the payments.

They provided News4 with receipts for four payments made that day to the Nerve Bone and Joint Institute on different credit cards, totaling more than $11,600.

Wang underwent surgery that day.

The next day, the family says they went back for a follow up, where Dr. Hashemi allegedly said she would need a second surgery for another nearly $12,000.
“I don’t know if they did that because we were in a panic situation, and maybe we are immigrants and my mom does not speak English,” Chen said. “I feel like we were really vulnerable at that time.”

They instead flew to Taiwan, where they’re originally from, to get surgery.

They’ve now filed a complaint with the D.C. Health Department against Dr. Hashemi, saying they were “forced under coercive conditions to pay about $12,000 to be treated.”

Dr. Hashemi’s attorneys said in their statement severed fingertips are an “urgent condition” but not a medical emergency and that the family was already planning on going to Taiwan.

The attorneys also said the clinic offered to write a letter to the airline to postpone the family’s elective travel, and the clinic also offered to speak with the Taiwanese doctor if they chose to get treatment overseas.

Chen said her mom was planning to travel to Taiwan, but Chen wasn’t supposed to go until later this summer. She says she moved her trip up because of her mom’s medical condition.

Dr. Hashemi’s attorneys also wrote, “The allegations made by Ms. Wang and Ms. Chen are entirely unfounded and do not reflect the reality of the Nerve, Bone & Joint Institute’s operations.
The Institute provides clinical and financial transparency with each step of its care process.
Transparency and integrity are the Institute’s core principles and it prioritizes the highest standards of quality and service for its patients. This is supported by a long history of satisfied patients and referring clinicians.”

News4 reached out to the DC Health Department to ask about the family’s complaint.
DC Health says it reviews all complaints thoroughly, but its investigations are confidential, and the department can't discuss them with the public.

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