In the latest tragic incident of violence against Chinese medical staff, a female doctor and pregnant nurse were beaten up by the family of a dying lung cancer patient in Changsha, the capital of central Hunan Province.
Dr. Wang Ya, 29, and nurse Tan were attempting to resuscitate a man surnamed Ouyang in the early hours of Monday morning with five family members present. Phoenix Television reported that the relatives became upset while Dr. Wang was diagnosing the patient, and then started hitting nurse Tan as she administered medication.
One of the relatives reportedly told the women he would’ve beaten them to death if he were not a public servant.
Both staff were hospitalized; Dr. Wang had concussion, bruising, and organ damage, while nurse Tan was showing signs of potential miscarriage.
Dr. Wang’s husband told state mouthpiece Xinhua that the relatives had threatened to kill the staff if they failed to save the patient. After he died, the relatives forced Dr. Wang to kneel in front of the body and kowtow as an apology, the husband added.
An official named Liu Shuai revealed on Weibo that one of the attackers is Ouyang Fusheng, a senior cadre with the National People’s Congress in Hunan, and the dead patient was his younger brother, Ouyang Xia, the patrol leader of Ninguan County.
“Ouyang [Fusheng] is my colleague. … His younger brother is 34 years old,” wrote Liu Shuai. “On May 28 his younger brother was admitted to the No.1 Hospital of Hunan University of Chinese Medicine with liver disease. At 4 a.m. on June 2, he suddenly died from lung cancer.”
The Dongfang Daily later contacted Liu Shuai by phone, and he confirmed this information, adding that Ouyang Fusheng is no longer at work, and is thought to have returned to his hometown for the funeral. Local authorities have launched an investigation into the matter, according to China News Service.
However, the deceased patient’s wife denied that the relatives beat the two women, Phoenix Television reported, adding: “Nowadays public servants are a vulnerable group, and don’t dare to beat people.” She said the hospital staff were injured before the incident, and that the lung cancer diagnosis was just speculation, so her husband’s sudden death must be due to hospital negligence.
Chinese bloggers responded angrily to the news. One wrote on Sohu: “Severely punish those maniacs by law!”
Another said: “This incident must be dealt with seriously. The civil servant is also a government official, and powered by the people. Such an official who abuses his power should be severely punished. Don’t let us civilians down.”
A third commented: “If things go like this, no one will dare to become a doctor.”
There have been a number of attacks by patients on hospital staff in the last few years, with some fatalities. Last October, a man unhappy with the results of his nasal surgery stabbed the surgeon to death and wounded two others at a hospital in Zhejiang Province.
For doctors in China, overworking and low pay are a common problem, and many feel misunderstood. Chinese patients tend to think that consultations are too fast, and excessive medication is prescribed.