Unlicensed New York City acupuncturist charged after patient's lungs collapsed, prosecutors say

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City man has been charged with performing acupuncture without a license after he punctured a woman's lungs during treatment, sending her to a hospital for emergency surgery, prosecutors announced.

Yong De Lin, 66, was arraigned on four criminal charges Monday in connection with unlicensed treatments he performed on 63-year-old Shujuan Jiang between May and October of last year, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.

According to the indictment, Jiang, 63, visited a medical office in the Flushing section of Queens on May 10, 2022, for relief of stomach and back pain, and was introduced to Lin.

Lin administered 17 treatments to Jiang over the next several months even though he is not a licensed acupuncturist and has never even applied for a New York state license to practice acupuncture, Katz said.

Jiang began to feel unwell during the last session on Oct. 28, Katz said in a news release. Lin performed additional acupuncture and a cupping treatment and sent Jiang home, Katz said in a news release.

Jiang collapsed on the sidewalk on her way home, Katz said. A bystander called 911 and Jiang was taken to a hospital where it was determined that both of her lungs had collapsed because of the acupuncture treatments. Lifesaving surgery was performed and Jiang remained hospitalized for six days.

“The difference between receiving health care from a competent, licensed professional or someone who is unlicensed can mean the difference between life and death," Katz said, adding that Lin “very nearly killed his patient.”

Lin was charged with assault in the first and second degrees, reckless endangerment in the first degree and unauthorized practice of a profession. He is due back in court Wednesday.

Lin's attorney, Kathleen Gallo, didn't immediately reply to a Tuesday voicemail seeking comment.


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