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The new China tort law and beyond: Doctors in China add attacks by patients to their list of woes!

October 14, 2013

Physicians are not part of society’s elite and other graduates have higher salaries, says Patti Waldmeir in an FT column of 7/10/2013.

The story quotes a survey last year conducted by MyCos education consultants in Beijing. According to it the average monthly salary for clinical medicine graduates was Rmb 2,339 (USD 382) within six months of graduation. Average income for all graduates was Rmb 3,051 nationwide, with doctors and nurses the lowest.

Many doctors it says complain that disgruntled patients increasingly turn to violence when doctors are unable to cure their ills, even though there is no malpractice.

A plastic surgery patient used a knife to attack three nurses, one pregnant, in the central Chinese city of Changsha in September. Doctors, says the report, often have to pay out of their own pocket when patients sue them.

According to state media reports attacks on doctors are becoming more frequent. The average number of assaults rose to 27.3 per hospital in 2012, compared with 20.6 in 2008 according to Chinese Hospital Association quoted by Xinhua.

Xinhua reported that the violence is starting to chase doctors out of the profession: nearly 40 per cent of medical personnel surveyed at 316 hospitals nationally from December 2012 to July 2013 said they planned to give up their profession because of greater violence in hospitals.

Hospital administrators and medical students point out that the situation is not uniformly bad. In the poorer areas where other professions may not be available, the best students are willing to risk long hours and possible violence to study medicine.

With 78 per cent doctors not preferring their children to don a white coat, is this together with poor salaries and threat of violence a recipe for an overall poor quality of professional standards? Thereby, all the more reason for violent behaviour on part of the patients and their relatives? Perhaps all the more reason for the Law of Torts to hasten taking roots into the Chinese soil?

 

 

From → Articles, Healthcare

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