CHINA

Video shows doctor hitting patient in China

An amateur video filmed by a nurse shows a surgeon hitting a patient on the operating table.
An amateur video filmed by a nurse shows a surgeon hitting a patient on the operating table.

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The footage, filmed secretly in a Chinese hospital, shows a doctor hitting a patient who is lying on the operating table. According to Chinese media, the patient refused to pay supplementary fees for her operation.

The video, which only lasts one minute, was first aired on March 14 on a local Chinese channel called the "Inner Mongolia Economic Channel”. The footage captures medical personnel repeatedly hitting a woman lying on an operating table. It is thought to have been filmed in the gynecology unit of Dushi Liren Hospital, a private establishment in Hohhot, a town in the Chinese autonomous region of Inner Mongolia.

However, the video also shows that the first blow is dealt by the patient herself. While still lying down, the patient smacks the person wearing a white smock, who hits her back several times before restraining her firmly.

According to the local channel that aired the footage, the patient lashed out when, just before she went in for surgery, the surgeon asked for additional money. He threatened to stop the operation if she didn’t pay.

A nurse at the hospital filmed the footage in September 2015. She later leaked it to the media to protest against the working conditions.

Three hospitals in Hohhot closed because of the video

Local police were able to contact the person who filmed the scene and confirm the video’s authenticity. They say they are still looking for the surgeon, whose licence was revoked by the hospital. After an investigation, the police announced medical personnel at Hohhot’s two other private hospitals were also asking patients to pay additional fees just as they were about to be operated on. The police said these hospitals would also be closed.

It seems like there is nothing new about doctors in Hohhot suddenly asking patients to pay more for operations. In February 2014, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported another case when a doctor stopped, mid-surgery, to ask a patient for 7000 extra yuan (about 960 euros). The doctor threatened to halt the surgery if the sum could not be provided.

Also, in March 2014, several media sources — including Time — reported on an increasing number of incidents in China in which patients became violent towards doctors. The number increased by an average of almost 23 percent per year between 2002 and 2012, according to the Chinese Hospital Management Society. In most of these cases, however, the doctors were accused of trying to make money off of vulnerable people by prescribing useless treatments or medicine.