Shanghai doctors learn martial arts to fend off violent patients

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 2:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 2:00pm

China’s doctors, frequent victims of violent attacks by disgruntled patients, are now studying martial arts to defend themselves from future threats.

Two hospitals in Shanghai, Zhongshan and Huashan, on Tuesday invited staff to a training session where martial arts and Taekwondo experts taught self-defence moves that could save lives, Shanghai’s Oriental Daily reported on Wednesday.

Staff participated in simulated combat where they were given tips on how to use chairs and other available objects to fend off knife-wielding patients during violent encounters, said the Daily.

Hospitals in China are frequently overwhelmed with patients while doctors are usually badly paid, leading to increasing levels of corruption as doctors are accused of prescribing unnecessary drugs and treatment to patients to boost their salaries.

The situation has deteriorated in recent years after a spike in medical expenses, despite government efforts to provide more affordable care and its pledge to extend the safety net to distant and rural areas.

A study conducted by the China Hospital Association this year revealed that over 60 per cent of the 316 hospitals surveyed said their staff had been injured by patients in the past. In 2013, the average number of cases of violence reported by the surveyed hospitals was 27.3, up from 20.6 in 2008, according to an earlier SCMP report.

In a most recent fatal attack of its kind, a 33-year-old male patient who was unhappy with the results of an operation on his nose stabbed a doctor to death and wounded two others last month in Zhejiang province.