Hospital staff callfor respect and safety

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2012, 12:00am


Shocked mainland doctors have launched an online campaign for respect and a safe working environment after many internet users appeared to cheer the fatal stabbing of a young doctor by a patient at a hospital in Harbin on Friday.

Many doctors, nurses and medical students posted pictures of themselves online holding computer screens or printouts demanding severe punishment for the killer and the 'return of the dignity of doctors'.

They expressed their shock and anger after over 4,000 of the more than 6,000 internet users who rated the story on the website clicked on a smiling face after reading about the killing of Dr Wang Hao. Wang, 28, a junior intern at Harbin Medical University and its First Affiliated Hospital, was stabbed to death by a 17-year-old patient who had been advised to seek treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis.

Wang had never treated the killer, and three other doctors in the same room were seriously injured.

Mainland doctors frequently have to deal with verbal abuse and even violent attacks by disgruntled parents. In August, Xu Wen, a top surgeon at Beijing's Tongren Hospital, was severely wounded by a knife-wielding patient.

A photograph showing a young doctor in surgical uniform on was accompanied by a caption saying: 'I'm an intern doctor. I work hard and try to save lives. Please don't hurt me.' A woman published a photo of herself holding a piece of paper that read: 'I am a mother of a doctor. I hope all the doctors can live a safe life with dignity. My deepest condolences to Wang Hao.'

Cui Hongping, chief of Shanghai East Hospital's ophthalmology department, said: 'I was angry and thought it was an isolated incident when I first heard about it. But when I saw so many people cheer for the killing I was in despair. The poll said so much that we need to reflect on.'

Cui said doctors had become frontline scapegoats for disgruntled patients seeking to vent their anger at a profit-driven health care system.

'If anything trivial happens, they vent their anger at doctors,' Cui said, adding that a patient once threatened to kill him.