Hospitalized patients diagnosed with meningitis after eating parasite-infested snails in Beijing restaurants say they might sue for compensation.
The Beijing Health Bureau on Tuesday said that six hospitals have reported treating 70 patients who dined on snails before getting sick. Sixteen of those who contracted the disease are gravely ill.
A patient surnamed Zhang said that he has spent 20,000 yuan (2,500 U.S. dollars) on medical treatment. He also wants compensation for physical and mental suffering.
"The patients in hospital have discussed that we would jointly make a claim for medical expenses and compensation for lost work and emotional suffering," he said.
According to the city health authorities, the youngest patient is 13 years old and the oldest is 51. All of the patients ate raw or undercooked Amazonian snails four to two weeks ago in a chain of restaurants serving Sichuan-style dishes.
Zhang said that the restaurants has asked patients to show hospital receipts before they are reimbursed for their medical expense.
Zhang said the patients plan to resort to legal means for additional compensation.