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Chinese Hospitals Are Dangerous Places to Work with Doctors and Patients Duking It Out

Posted Aug 11 2010 11:10pm

Doctors and patients according to this article are both not happy.  When you read through here and find doctors being attacked and some killed as they results were image not what was expected from the families, it’s a bit scary. The doctors say the are underpaid and 1 of 4 suffer from depression.  In one situation the family took a doctor hostage and they staged a demonstration. 

The police don’t feel they should be there as “body guards” for the doctors either, so this is tough situation.  For pharma companies though it sounds like bribery is alive and well as far as getting the more expensive drugs used as the article states they have tried to reduce cost here, but it’s not working.  BD 

SHENYANG, China — Forget the calls by many Chinese patients for more honest, better-qualified doctors. What this city’s 27 public hospitals really needed, officials decided last month, was police officers.

And not just at the entrance, but as deputy administrators. The goal: to keep disgruntled patients and their relatives from attacking the doctors.

The decision was quickly reversed after Chinese health experts assailed it, arguing that the police were public servants, not doctors’ personal bodyguards.

But officials in this northeastern industrial hub of nearly eight million people had a point. Chinese hospitals are dangerous places to work. In 2006, the last year the Health Ministry published statistics on hospital violence, attacks by patients or their relatives injured more than 5,500 medical workers.

In June alone, a doctor was stabbed to death in Shandong Province by the son of a patient who had died of liver cancer . Three doctors were severely burned in Shanxi Province when a patient set fire to a hospital office. A pediatrician in Fujian Province was also injured after leaping out a fifth-floor window to escape angry relatives of a newborn who had died under his care.

But the violence also reflects much wider discontent with China’s public health care system.

Chinese health experts estimate that a third to a half of patients are hospitalized for no good reason.

Patients appear to be even more likely to get useless prescriptions . Drug sales are hospitals’ second biggest source of revenue, and many offer incentives that can lead doctors to overprescribe or link doctors’ salaries to the money they generate from prescriptions and costly diagnostic tests. Some pharmaceutical companies offer additional under-the-table inducements for prescribing drugs, doctors and experts say.

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