Montgomery County

With 2 severed fingertips, Maryland woman says she struggled to find treatment then flew to Taiwan

“I just wish that this will not happen to anyone, because I feel like they took advantage of our vulnerability,” the victim’s daughter said

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A routine chore turned into a nightmare.

Rockville, Maryland, grandmother Shuchen Wang was mowing the lawn when she accidentally cut off two of her fingertips.

Amid her shock and pain, her daughter Yiyu Chen called 911 and they took an ambulance to Suburban Hospital.

Yiyu says that at the hospital, a physician’s assistant told them they had no one who could treat that type of injury. The family says the PA gave them a piece of paper and told them to take an Uber to Dr. Shahreyar Hashemi in D.C. because he was the only local doctor qualified to help.

“Her bleeding has not fully stopped at that time,” the victim’s daughter said. “We were really traumatized and terrified and really scared, and then we were not informed.”

Once they got to the Nerve Bone & Joint Institute in Foggy Bottom, the clinic allegedly told them they did not take insurance and required full payment for surgery up front, for nearly $12,000.

Yiyu said she tried to call other clinics to find one that did take insurance but that 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,’ 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,” Yiyu said.

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

Wang underwent surgery that day.

The next day, the family went back for a follow-up where 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,” Yiyu said.

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

Last Friday, the family filed a complaint against Hashemi with the DC Health Department. They said they were “forced under coercive conditions to pay about $12,000 to be treated” and that the surgeon in Taiwan told them “Dr. Hashemi's procedure might be incorrectly done.”

Hashemi did not respond to our request for an interview but did send this statement to News4: “I respectfully but strongly disagree with Shuchen’s allegations. I neither pressured her into having surgery nor requested that she pay up front, and I gave her the opportunity to obtain a second opinion. She opted to proceed with surgery, which was medically indicated and performed without complication.”

The family is also in the process of filing a complaint with Suburban Hospital’s patient relations department. They’re accusing the hospital of breaking a federal law called EMTALA, or the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. It says, “If a hospital is unable to stabilize a patient within its capability, or if the patient requests, an appropriate transfer should be implemented.”

The family says they feel they shouldn’t have had to take a rideshare somewhere when they were already at a hospital seeking care.

“I just wish that this will not happen to anyone, because I feel like they took advantage of our vulnerability,” the victim’s daughter said.

The DC Health Department told News4 they review all complaints thoroughly. They said their investigations are confidential and the department can't discuss them with the public.

News4 also reached out to Suburban Hospital for comment. They said they couldn’t discuss specific cases because of federal privacy laws.

As for Wang, she plans to spend the next two months recovering in Taiwan and said her pain levels have been decreasing.

Editor's Note: After publication and declining two requests for an interview, the doctor's attorney provided an additional lengthy statement to News4. You can watch the follow up story here.

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