600,000 Chinese doctors sign petition against hospital violence

People playing the role of relatives of a patient in a simulation exercise at the entrance of a hospital building, shout and unfold banners, and clash with other participants playing the role of police and doctors, in Laohekou city of Central China's Hubei province, on March 19, 2014. The drill was initiated by the hospital and local police.Photo: IC

A total of 600,000 Chinese doctors have signed their names to an online petition calling for the end of violent attacks on medical workers after a physician was injured by her patient in South China's Guangdong province on Wednesday.

The police in Huizhou city, Guangdong said on Sunday that the suspect, whose surname is Liao, has confessed to the attack on the doctor, Ou Lizhi, from Longmen County People's Hospital.

Attacks on healthcare workers have triggered public outrage, especially in the medical sector. As of Sunday, more than 600,000 doctors had signed their real names to join the social media campaign.

The Guangdong Provincial Commission of Health and Family Planning on Friday evening issued a notice asking hospitals to cooperate with local public security departments to set up police stations in hospitals or have police regularly patrol nearby so they can quickly respond to violence.

It also demanded hospitals put up surveillance cameras and install police alarm equipment.

According to a police investigation into the attack at Longmen, Liao went to the doctors' office at Longmen hospital to look for Dr. Ou, who had been his doctor, on Wednesday to inquire about his headaches. Ou asked him to go to the outpatient department as she was not on duty at the clinic that day.

Liao became agitated and took out a knife from his bag. Ou was injured on her right hand and left arm before Liao was stopped by others.

Liao said he harbored hatred for the doctor because he believed medicine prescribed by Ou was to blame for his chronic headaches.

Tian Wuhan, director of the Guangdong Medical Association, said frequent hospital violence has not only inflicted physical injuries and psychological trauma on medical workers, but also damaged the relationship between doctors and patients. In June alone, 12 cases of violent attacks on medical workers occurred in hospitals nationwide.

In a poll published in May by the Chinese Medical Doctor Association, some 13 percent of 12,600 doctors said they had been physically assaulted by their patients last year, and nearly 60 percent had been verbally abused. Doctors said they felt they were not respected and their personal security was not protected in the workplace.


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