Efforts to protect doctors stepped up

Updated: 2015-06-25 11:36

By Wang Xiaodong(China Daily)

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Top prosecutor's office announces push to punish those who harm medical workers

China's top prosecutors are promising increased efforts to punish violence directed at medical workers amid a recent surge of such cases.

Physical violence against doctors has resulted in injuries and death, as well as disorder at hospitals, Xiao Wei, spokeswoman of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Within the past three weeks, more than 10 cases resulting in injuries to doctors and nurses were reported, the procuratorate said.

"We will intensify supervision and guidance of prosecuting agencies at various levels so such crimes are punished according to law to protect the rights of doctors and nurses and create a better environment for both doctors and patients," Xiao said.

Prosecuting agencies filed lawsuits against 347 people suspected of committing serious violence against medical workers and handed them over to courts between December 2013 and December last year, Xiao said.

They included the case of a man who fatally stabbed one doctor and injured two others at a hospital in Wenling, Zhejiang province, after repeatedly filing complaints saying the doctor failed to cure his disease with surgery. Lian Enqing, 35, was sentenced to death and was executed in May after approval from the Supreme People's Court.

In April last year, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and several other judicial and government bodies jointly issued guidance that specified criminal punishments for different types of criminal activities against medial workers.

More than 70 percent of doctors in China have suffered verbal abuse or physical violence, according to a white paper released by the Chinese Medical Doctors Association in May.

Liu Yaqing, a prosecutor at the procuratorate, said many factors can cause tense relationships between doctors and patients. She said more education was needed so that the public understands how to handle disputes between patients and doctors.

"My suggestion is to accelerate the building of a legal mechanism to prevent and handle medical disputes, and to actively respond to the doubts and reasonable appeals from patients, so potential disputes could be solved in a timely manner," she said.

Deng Liqiang, director of legal affairs for the doctors association, said some patients have unrealistically high expectations for medical care and tend to blame doctors if treatments fail.

Medical workers also are urged to provide enough information to patients, such as possible consequences of treatment, so they are better prepared, said Li Ying, deputy director of the Institute of Health and Environment Communication at Communication University of China.