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Mysterious Death at Acupuncture Clinic


A man collapsed and died Wednesday shortly after receiving an acupuncture procedure. Experts in the field say it likely had nothing to do with the alternative Chinese medicine.

8 News NOW talked to the acupuncturist who treated that man and also to the Nevada Board of Oriental Medicine which says "death by acupuncture" is virtually impossible.

Joon Lee Duk was shocked when his 69-year-old patient collapsed in his waiting room following an acupuncture procedure.

"So I came in here and I did CPR," said Duk, an acupuncturist.

After performing CPR, medics took the man to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

"I'm sad, because he's my friend," said Duk.

In his 45 years of practice, Duk has never seen experienced a situation like this. Acupuncture specialist Fiona Kelley explains why.

"There is nothing in acupuncture that can cause death," said Kelly. She is the vice president of the Nevada State Board of Oriental Medicine.

"You're tonifying the chi of the body or you're dispersing a pathogen." She says it is not possible for acupuncture to cause death.

"I actually have been asked in the past if I could help people who had terminal illnesses if I could give them, not sure how to say this, gentle passage. I don't have any tools that can do that. I take out stress all the time, but I don't have anything that can kill anybody," she said.

Kelly adds that Nevada has some of the toughest requirements when it comes to practicing acupuncture.

"You have to be nationally certified and state certified. You cannot practice acupuncture without malpractice insurance as well as a criminal and background check."

The Clark County Coroner's office has yet to determine a cause of death for Duk's client.

"It's every acupuncturist's worst nightmare," Kelly said.

Duk, who has never had a complaint filed against him, remains open for business. Currently, there is no police investigation into the man's death unless the coroner rules it was not by natural causes.

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