So apparently there's a variant of acupuncture called apitherapy, which uses bee stings rather than needles:A Woman Dies from a Severe Allergic Reaction After Live Bee Acupuncture Session
Earlier this month, two Spanish Allergy and Immunology specialists published a case report involving a 55-year-old woman who died from a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) after undergoing live bee acupuncture. Although healthy in general, she had been going to this particular apitherapy clinic every month for the prior two years for treatment of musculoskeletal concerns and stress. She had never reported a reaction to the therapy in the past and there was no history of allergic conditions, and specifically no history of allergy to bites or stings from any related insects.
Unfortunately, the absence of prior allergy to a particular substance does not rule out the future development of allergy. It is not uncommon for people repeatedly exposed to bee venom, the classic example naturally being bee keepers, to develop an allergy. The patient discussed in the report had been stung a minimum of 24 times, but perhaps many more than that depending on how many stings took place per session. And yes, the first sign of allergy can be a severe reaction, even death.
After the sting, the woman developed wheezing and difficulty breathing, and she quickly lost consciousness, classic signs of anaphylaxis. An ambulance arrived 30 minutes after the development of symptoms, which is obviously unacceptable. Even worse is the fact that the clinic did not have epinephrine, the only medication that could have saved her life, or even an epinephrine autoinjector on site in case of just such a reaction.
This, in my opinion, is criminal negligence. I wonder if the patient was even made aware of the risk. None of the many news articles covering this report revealed if proper informed consent had been obtained. Though the clinic did not have epinephrine, the did have access to the IV steroid methylprednisolone, which is commonly included in acute management of anaphylaxis but has never been proven to actually improve any outcome, in particular restoration of normal blood pressure or the ability to breath.
Once the ambulance arrived, she was found to have a systolic blood pressure of 42, which is too low for a premature newborn let alone an adult, and an abnormally rapid heart rate, more classic signs of anaphylaxis. She was quickly given epinephrine and boluses of IV saline to improve her blood pressure, more steroids, and an antihistamine (really only helpful if you have itchy hives with your anaphylaxis). Her vital signs did stabilize but the damage had already been done.
The sudden and severe drop in blood pressure resulted in decreased blood flow to her brain and she suffered what is known as a “watershed stroke“. This occurs when the neuronal injury involves vulnerable regions of the brain that on a good day don’t get the best perfusion thanks to their anatomic position on the borders of cerebral blood supply. By the time the ambulance had arrived she had entered what would be a permanent comatose state, requiring the placement of a breathing tube to protect her airway, and would go on to develop multisystem organ dysfunction and ultimately die a few weeks later.
So a "clinic" that intentionally stings people with bees didn't even have an epi-pen ready in case of an allergic reaction.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.