Video: Hospital staff forced to kowtow for forgiveness at a patient’s funeral
May 3, 2012Jing Gao2 Commentsbribery, doctor-patient relationship, funeral, funeral and interment, health care, hospitals, kickbacks, Kowtow, law-governing society, medical ethics, medical malpractice, medical system, memorial service, Red envelope
After a patient died allegedly from medical malpractice in Shaanxi province, the hospital’s president and more than 40 staff members put on heavy mourning garments and attended the patient’s funeral, where the president gave a tearful self-criticism speech and kowtowed with the rest of the staff to the portrait of the deceased. The hospital was even forced to close for three months by the patient’s family as punishment or else pay an indemnity of three million yuan (US$476,000). A video clip of the funeral was uploaded to the Internet and has since been heatedly discussed by netizens.
On the afternoon of March 8, a family of five were all rushed to Baixin Hospital in Hengshan county, Shaanxi province with food poisoning. While the other four’s condition stabilized after they got their stomachs pumped, the condition of Mr. Yan in his 70s worsened. He died at late night of gastric perforation.
Yan’s family maintained that it was the hospital’s wrongful stomach pumping method that led to Yan’s death. Even though the hospital came up with a compensation plan, the family rejected the offer and pressured the hospital to suspend its business.
“The Yan family had always trusted me, but I am unworthy of the Yans. They entrusted me with five lives, but our medical operation caused your gastric perforation, which is my lifelong regret…” An Yahong, the president of Baixin Hospital, read from his script while weeping.
Gao Bin (pseudonym), an employee at the hospital who attended the memorial service, told the reporter that even though no evidence has been found to this day that points to any fault of the hospital, the Yans are too powerful in Hengshan county to mess with. The Yans requested the hospital staff’s presence and apology at the memorial service, “We all wore white flowers on our chests and stood at either side of the mourning hall. President An was ordered by them to repent his mistake in tears before all the guests. Then, we were made by them to kneel down and kowtow,” said Gao.
“After President An performed three kowtows to the portrait of the deceased, he was going to stand up. But the family kicked him, pinned him down and ordered him to continue kowtowing,” Gao said, “That was not a normal way to pay respect to the dead.” Gao said the hospital staff was even prohibited by the Yans from entering and exiting the residence through the main entrance used by all other guests, “They asked us to use the backdoor, because they considered us bane.”
It is later learned that the son of the deceased is the vice manager of a conglomerate. Their family is well-off in the region. Most of the locals believe that the hospital succumbed to the family’s power and influence.
An Yahong, the president of Baixin Hospital, told the reporter during a telephone interview that he hoped that the disputes could be resolved as quickly as possible.
The incident highlights the intense doctor-patient relationship in China, which erupts into violence and even bloody clashes every now and then.
Chinese doctors receive a meager income compared to their American counterparts and are often burdened with too heavy of a workload as a result of the country’s shortage of medical resources, which prompts them to seek kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies and bribes from patients. Rampant corruption has damaged the profession’s popularity and led to patients’ lack of trust in doctors and hospitals.
On March 23, a doctor in Heilongjiang province was killed by an outraged patient over medical dispute. 65 percent of netizens who read this piece of news on People’s Daily responded that they were happy to learn of the story. Another survey, taken after the murder and published by The Global Times on Wednesday, showed that nearly 63% of respondents have a negative impression of Chinese medical staff
However, the Sina Weibo survey that asked netizens about their attitude towards the kowtow incident, showed that 77.7% of the 26,820 respondents were repelled by the family that put medical staff in the undignified situation.
Selected comments from Sina Weibo
王冉: This is absurdity that only appears in a human-governing society. In a law-governing society, if the hospital is at fault, instead of wielding their influence and forcing doctors to kowtow, the family of the victim can sue the hospital for huge damages.
烤鱼和老鼠 ：Poor patients are bullied by doctors, while rich patients bully doctors. Either situation is not going to benefit the hospital or the patient.
华英雄-保尔 ：Don’t sympathize doctors because you see them kowtow. On many more occasions, they make others kowtow! They accept red envelopes (containing cash), ask people to play by their rules, have shallow and lame skills and are irresponsible. They deserve to be given a lesson! This time, they’ve met a hardliner. He were another wimp, they would still kick him out of the hospital and take away both money and the life without leaving an outlet for complaint…
大脸小妞：The doctor-patient relationship is different from the relationship between an ordinary consumer and a business. Having spent money doesn’t guarantee the cure of a disease. Mutual distrust and animosity are not good to either side. In the end, it is the patient who will suffer. If patients resort to violence at will and kill people, putting personal safety of doctors in peril, who would want to be a doctor? If all doctors are immoral and unskilled, I would like to ask, who certified them?
狄安娜之泪：If I were him, I would rather quit the job than kowtow to the family. The family was clearly making things up. Who says the hospital can always save people? Are doctors gods? A bunch of bullies who abuse influence and power. China is just a society that belongs to the rich people! I am a nurse. Honestly, I feel sad. I have been thinking about quitting the profession since the day I entered it. I have never got other people’s respect.
阳光的波斯菊：You will never understand the hardship and bitterness of doctors and nurses unless you are one of them! Doctors are humans, not gods! Not all diseases are curable! Doctors deserve the basic respect! They are too often insulted, beaten and even hacked…And now they are even forced to kowtow…Is there any justice? Who would want to study medicine? Who would have the nerve to study medicine?
乒乓徐团副：Cannot tolerate any assault on human dignity. But the medical community needs to reflect on the degenerate medical ethics and the difficulty of patients to see a doctor without connections or a red envelope.
san-miguel ：Doctors should be treated with due respect. But who knows the full picture of a medical accident? This is caused by the lack of supervision, the legal loopholes and the low calibre medical staff~~~
易_晨风：Those who voted for it, are you nuts? This is an incident of medical staff kowtowing to the local vicious power! Sooner or later, you will kowtow to the domineering power too!!!