Chinese TV producer apologises for online comment hinting at violence against doctors
A Guangdong TV producer has issued a public apology on the internet after comments he made hinting at a desire for violent retaliation against medical staff generated a negative response online.
“I deeply regret the Weibo post and emotional outburst. I would like to express my sincere apologies to all medical staff and internet users,” Wang Mudi, a Guangdong Satellite TV producer and co-host of a financial news programme, said in a lengthy online apology.
Wang drew widespread criticism from the public over the weekend after he made comments on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblogging platform, which further fueled an ongoing debate over increasing violence against medical staff.
In the controversial posting, Wang complained about the medical treatment his girlfriend received in a hospital where she went for a skin allergy. Wang said a nurse had pierced the skin on his girlfriend’s hand four times before finally locating a vein, causing his girlfriend tremendous pain. Wang also complained about the nurse’s insolent attitude, after which he wrote, “I would also like to chop someone with a knife,” followed by an expletive.
Wang’s remarks quickly attracted criticism online. While some internet users were sympathetic, many more were uneasy about his inflammatory remarks.
Some accused him of potentially inciting public violence against medical staff. “You are free to file a complaint, but not to encourage violence against doctors in a public space,” a blogger commented.
The Chinese Medical Doctor Association, an organisation affiliated to the Heath Ministry, published a statement on its website demanding a public apology from Wang and his resignation from Guangdong Satellite TV.
The statement said Wang’s comments “put the doctor-patient relationship in danger” and that “a person with such violent tendencies” was not fit to be a TV host.
Wang’s provocative post was removed from his Weibo later on Friday.
Wang said in his online apology that he did not hate the medical profession and “[the posting] was never meant to be personal”. Wang admitted he was at fault for making the comments without acknowledging his identity as a public figure and also due to the “sensitive timing”.
China has seen an increase in attacks on hospital staff by patients in recent years. Ministry data shows that the number of violent attacks directed at doctors and other health care workers, including beatings, threats, kidnappings, verbal abuse and murders, reached 17,243 cases in 2010, the most recent figure available.
The rising number of attacks prompted the Health Ministry to request in 2012 for police officers to be stationed in hospitals over a certain size as a deterrent.
Patient deaths, continued illness after prolonged treatment and a general dissatisfaction with medical treatment were the main factors behind hospital violence, contributing to over 80 per cent of attacks, a study by the Chinese Hospital Association last year showed.
Last week, a 34-year-old pregnant nurse was injured after she was beaten by a patient at a hospital in the eastern coastal Zhejiang province. The agitator was put in jail for 12 days and fined 1,000 yuan (HK$1,265). The condition of the injured nurse’s baby remained unclear on Monday.