Feature

China: Harming our doctors and ourselves

Frustrated patients in China have taken to murdering their doctors.

Kai YueThe Economic Observer 

Frustrated patients in China have taken to murdering their doctors, said Kai Yue. At least 10 doctors were killed last year, and another was stabbed to death in a northern hospital just last month. Some have taken to traveling with bodyguards. What has driven so many patients to snap? The answer lies partly in our broken medical system, in which waiting times to see providers are inexcusably long and treatment is expensive. To cash in, doctors have developed a habit of overprescribing the priciest medications, and now, “any prescription arouses questions by patients suspicious that the doctor might be scamming them.” Among those who endure long waits and high costs and still don’t get better, it’s no wonder some start to feel desperate. But that’s only part of the story. The deeper problem is that “our society has fallen into a mutual harming mode.” Scamming is everywhere, not just in medicine. Just look at the scandals over tainted baby formula, or the many cases of unscrupulous officials confiscating peoples’ homes in exchange for illegal payoffs from developers. It’s an endless chain of harm. So yes, we should transform the medical system—but we must also transform ourselves.

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