Deteriorating Doctor-Patient Relationship in China is Causing Imminent Shortages

  • Worsening doctor-patient relationship in China makes less people want to become doctors.
  • Over the past 10 years there were over 300 reported doctor-patient violent conflicts.
  • Since 2017, the number of people taking China’s Medical Licensing Examination has been declining.

Just 20 days into 2020, the coronavirus from Wuhan has already infected 319 people in China and has reached three countries outside China. It reminds everybody of the SARS outbreak in 2003, which caused 774 deaths in over 30 countries. Doctors and nurses are trying their best to treat the patients, whose expenses will be covered by the Chinese government. It is at times like this when you realize how important the doctors and nurses are. However, in China, a worsening relationship between the doctors/nurses and the patients is seeding a serious social problem. Over the past month, six cases have been reported where the patients beat up or even murder their life savers.

Over 300 infected by the new Wuhan coronavirus in just 20 days.

December 24, 2019. Unsatisfied with the treatments that his 95-year-old mother was receiving, Sun Wenbin murdered Yang Wen, an expert in hypertension disease at the Civil Aviation General Hospital, Beijing. The relatives of Sun seemed indifferent about what happened and kept complaining the treatment expenses were too high after the police arrested him. Sun was sentenced to death 23 days after he committed the crime.

January 1, 2020. An emergency nurse in Taiyuan got stabbed in the neck by a drunk friend of a patient. Fortunately, after over four hours of rescue, the nurse was finally out of danger.

January 10, 2020. A deputy director of Shuangliu People’s Court beat up a doctor in Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, leaving the doctor with several severe fractures. The court announced that the attacker had been suspended immediately.

January 16, 2020. After having finished the IV drips for a little patient, nurse Li proceeded to take back the cushion beneath the patient’s arm. The kid’s father, drunk, suddenly started to yell and took his shirt off. The mother, meanwhile, threw the bag she was holding at the face of nurse, who received a fractured nose.

January 17, 2020. In Hejiang People’s Hospital, after hours of rescue, a patient still died of severe heart disease. The relatives of the patient turned their grief into anger against three doctors and violently beat them up. There was blood all over the doctors and the floor.

January 20, 2020. Unsatisfied with the eye operation he received, a patient chased his doctor with a knife, during which he hurt two other doctors who were trying to stop him and one other patient in the hallway. The doctor he aimed at, Tao Yong, received multiple cuts on the head, neck and both arms. Tao is a famous expert in eye related disease. However, due to the serious cuts he received on the hands, he might not be able to operate anymore.

Doctor got beaten up by angry patients.

In China, being a doctor has always been considered one of the best choices due to social respect one receives. Related medical majors in the universities usually require a very good GPA to get in since there are lots of aspiring students signing up for them. However, in recent years, the relationship between the doctors/nurses and the patients seems to have worsened greatly.

From 2009 to 2019, there were 305 reported violent cases like those listed above. Gradually, people are starting to wonder if it’s worth it to study so hard to get a diploma just to, in the end, work long hours and live in fear all the time.

Since 2017, the number of people taking China’s Medical Licensing Examination has been declining, with a drop of around 60,000 each year. Also, medical majors are lowering their GPA requirements in order to get enough students. There are worries across the internet that in the near future, there will not be enough doctors and nurses in China due to the worsening doctor-patient relationship, and the quality of doctors and nurses will also be lower since the best students are turning to other jobs with better salaries and less risks.

In June of this year, the Basic Healthcare and Health Promotion will come into force, in which it explicitly forbids any organization or individual from threatening or harming medical workers. Let’s hope this new law will put an end to the deteriorating doctor-patient relationship in China.

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