Hospital in China Fends Off Angry Mob

Professional mourners have long been a part of funerals in China. Now, the bereaved can also hire mobs of pitchfork-wielding protesters to add teeth to demands for compensation, while beseiged hospital staff are taking up arms to resist. From the Los Angeles Times:

Medical personnel advocates complain that the more violent incidents are staged by hired thugs, paid by families of the deceased in hopes of winning compensation from the hospitals. Sometimes the protesters are from the same village or are semi-professionals in causing trouble. The Chinese have even coined a word for the paid protesters: yinao, meaning “medical disturbance.”

“It has become a very sophisticated system for chasing profits. Whenever somebody dies in a hospital, the yinao will get in touch with the family and offer their services in exchange for 30% to 40%,” said Liu Di, who is setting up a social network for medical professionals.

There is more to the practice than pure opportunism, however:

Zhang Yuanxin, an Urumqi-based plaintiffs’ lawyer, said it was difficult to sue for medical malpractice, even in the most egregious cases, and that tempted people to take matters into their own hands.

“This is the direct result of the lack of rule of law and the lack of a well-established social welfare system,” Zhang said. “Conflicts like these are inevitable and there will be many more if people can’t solve their problems through the law.”

Global Times, meanwhile, reports the case of a Shanghai man who died unattended on an operating table when a fire broke out in the next room.

A 50-year-old patient undergoing a leg-amputation at a hospital in Shanghai Baoshan district on Wednesday night died on the operating table after he was left unattended for about 30 minutes, following a fire that broke out in the next room, the hospital confirmed on Thursday.

But local police declined to release details on Thursday, citing an ongoing investigation into the case.

The Shanghai No.3 People’s Hospital, meanwhile, said that it would take responsibility for the incident, if the probe determines that it erred in handling the situation properly ….

“Why wasn’t he at least given a mask?” [Zhu’s wife] wondered.

She said that the family is not seeking compensation from the hospital at this time – they want to see the investigation results before making such a decision.

Sources:

Performing at funerals: professional mourners in Chongqing and Chengdu – Danwei
Hospital in China fends off angry mob – latimes.com
Unattended patient dies on table – Global Times

August 26, 2011 12:00 AM
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Categories: Law, Sci-Tech, Society