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New Law Combats the ‘Yinao’ Phenomenon

China has launched a new law to cope with the increasing ‘Yinao’ Phenomenon. The growing violence of patients against medical staff has made being a doctor a dangerous job in China.

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China has launched a new law to cope with the increasing social problem of patient-doctor violence, also called the ‘Yinao’ Phenomenon. The growing violence of patients against medical staff has made being a doctor a dangerous job in China. The new law makes it possible to sentence hospital troublemakers to up to seven years in prison.

The yinao (医闹, ‘medical disturbance’) phenomenon has become a growing problem in China’s medical sector over the past several years. Yinao is the organized disturbance and violence in hospitals against medical workers, mostly meant to get compensation for medical malpractices. It is often done by criminal groups that are hired by patients or their family when they are dissatisfied with the provided medical care.

The disturbance includes protests and violent attacks on staff. Some even involve the murder on health professionals.

Chinese media have covered roughly thirty medical related disputes from October 2013 to June 2015. These were only the terribly violent disputes (including fatal stabbings) that had a large societal impact; the thousands of small disputes happening in hospitals across China every day were not taken in account.

 

“The Ministry of Public Security has advised hospitals with 2000 beds to have at least 100 security guards.”

 

In October of 2013, the Ministry of Public Security has advised hospitals with over 2000 beds to have at least 100 security guards. The growing numbers of security staff, however, have not helped to combat hospital violence.

In November 2013, hundreds of medical workers protested at the No. 1 People’s Hospital in Wenling, after a dissatisfied patient overpowered security guards and stabbed three doctors, leading to the death of one of them.

The new law, that will be implemented on November 11th of this year, is to punish those who threaten and assault medical staff, damage hospital facilities or equipment, or in any way hinder the hospital staff and doctors from doing their work.

 

“Medical workers are constantly bullied, humiliated or physically hurt by ignorant people.”

 

On Sina Weibo, the topic “medical disturbance crimination” (#医闹入罪#) was posted immediately after the news was released. Over a million users participated in a discussion about the new law.

Among all the users commenting, there were are also many medical professionals and students. “Us as poor medical students can finally relax a little bit. Medical violence should have been incriminated years ago!” says user Sunshine Without Tears: “There have been so many hospital disputes, and medical workers are constantly bullied, humiliated or physically hurt by ignorant people. We need a law to combat hospital disputes so that the relationship between doctors and patients will improve.”

Doctor CSY summarizes the major factors contributing to the increase of violence in China’s health care: a rising consciousness of patient rights, deepening misunderstandings between patients and doctors, and provocative media reporting. He then adds: “I’ve witnessed a lot of disputes in the hospital over the past few years. All doctors want their patients to get better and healthy. We work so hard with not much income, and yet have to worry about our own safety. If any medical worker neglects his duty, he should be punished by the law instead of being hit by the patient’s family.”

 

“Patients sometimes spend their entire life savings when suffering from serious illnesses. When treatment fails, despairing patients and their families are quick to blame doctors.”

 

The market-oriented reforms of the Chinese health sector is also a major cause of the yinao phenomenon. With China’s economic liberalization, the state is no longer responsible for providing health care. Because public hospitals have started chasing profits to survive, people have to take more responsibility for their own care.

Patients sometimes spend their entire life savings when suffering from serious illnesses. When treatment fails, despairing patients and their families are quick to blame doctors and the hospital.

Most patients and their families are unwilling to solve medical problems through legal channels; not only is the process time-consuming, it also might end with no financial compensation. They believe a quicker way to get some money back is to cause trouble at the hospital.

Weibo user Huohuo is worried about the feasibility of the new law: “I don’t think ordinary people will go to court to deal with medical issues. In China, there is a long tradition of the law failing us, while the violators win. I just hope that China will be a developed country soon so that all Chinese people can enjoy free healthcare. It might be the best solution to decrease hospital disputes.”

 

“Doctors are the perfect target of revenge.”

 

There are also Weibo users who understand negative sentiments towards medical staff. Chinese doctors and other medical professionals are generally underpaid. The low income causes some of them to make extra money in “grey areas” such as drug kickbacks, over-prescription, and bribery. For many patients, this has ruined the image of doctors, and they find it hard to trust them. This partly explains why, when medical misfortune happens, doctors often are the perfect targets of revenge.

User East South West North comments: “Medical disputes happen for a reason. The truth is, that some doctors require patients to do unnecessary inspections so they can make profits. Patients have even died from counterfeit drugs prescribed by doctors.”

 

“I’m afraid no one wants to pursue a career in medicine if this vicious cycle keeps on growing.”

 

China’s violence against doctors has been cited as an important reason for a decrease in the popularity of healthcare career. User J_tomorrow points out that the government should heighten the punishment of ‘medical disturbance’ to ensure the safety of medical workers at hospitals: “Doctor is a high-risk and low-paid occupation in China. I’m afraid no one wants to pursue a career in medicine if this vicious cycle keeps on growing.”

Weibo user called Bottle of Chili admits that she has lost her passion of being a medical worker: “I used to be full of passion for my work, and I treated my patients with kindness. But after being misunderstood and humiliated by patients and their families years after years, I’m now doing my job like a robot. The whole society expects us to show selfless devotion, but we are humans after all!”

‘Medical disturbance crimination’ is the first step in improving the doctor-patient relationship. Many more measurements need to be taken in order to cope with this social problem. User Liyun expresses his support of the legal protection of medical worker. At the same time, he says: “We need to understand the underlying reasons of medical disturbance – the distrust between doctors and patients. Hospitals should not hide or cover up medical negligence. And patients should give medical workers the respect they deserve.”

By Yiying Fan

Image used: http://focus.cnhubei.com/consensus/200912/t883804.shtml

©2015 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

About the author: Yiying Fan is a world traveler and Chinese freelance writer from Shanghai.

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China and Covid19

Video Shows Real-Time “Departure” Information Board at Chinese Crematorium

From “cremation in process” to “cooling down,” the digital display shows the progress of the cremation to provide information to those waiting in the lobby. The crematorium ‘departure’ board strikes a chord with many.

Manya Koetse

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A video showing a live display screen announcing the names and status of the deceased at a Yunnan crematorium has been making its rounds on Chinese social media, from WeChat to Weibo, where one version of the video received over 1,7 million views.

Somewhat similar to a real-time platform departure display on train stations, the screen shows the waiting number of the deceased person, their name, gender, the name of the lounge/room (if any) for families, the name of the crematorium chamber, and the status of the cremation process. Below in the screen, it says “the final journey of a warm life” (温暖人生的最后旅程).

For example, the screen displays the names of a Mr. Chen and a Mr. Li; their bodies were in the process of being cremated (火化中), while other cremations were marked as “completed” (完成) or “cooling down” (降温中).

Through such a screen, located in the crematorium lobby, family members and loved ones can learn about the progress of the cremation of the deceased.

The video, recorded by a local on Jan. 7, received many comments. Among them, some people commented on the information board itself, while others simply expressed grief over those who died and the fragility of life. Many felt the display was confronting and it made them emotional.

“It makes me really sad that this how people’s lives end,” one commenter said, with another person replying that the display also shows you still need to wait in line even when you’re dead.

“I didn’t expect the screens [in the crematorium] to be like those in hospitals, where patients are waiting for their turn,” another Weibo user wrote. “It would be better if the names were hidden, like in the hospitals, to protect the privacy of the deceased,” another person replied.

Others shared their own experiences at funeral parlors also using such information screens.

Another ‘departure display’ at a Chinese crematorium, image shared by Weibo user.

“My grandfather passed away last September, and when we were at the undertaker’s, the display was also jumping from one name to the other and we could only comfort ourselves knowing that he was among those who lived a relatively long life.”

“Such a screen, it really makes me sad,” another commenter from Guangxi wrote, with others writing: “It’s distressing technology.”

Although the information screen at the crematorium is a novelty for many commenters, the phenomenon itself is not necessarily related to the Covid outbreak and the number of Covid-related deaths; some people share how they have seen them in crematoriums before, and funeral parlor businesses have used them to provide information to families since at least 2018.

According to an article published by Sohu News, more people – especially younger ones – have visited a funeral home for the first time in their lives recently due to the current Covid wave, also making it the first time for them to come across such a digital display.

The online video of such an information board has made an impact at a time when crematoriums are crowded and families report waiting for days to bury or cremate their loved ones, with especially a large number of elderly people dying due to Covid.

On Jan. 4, one social media user from Liaoning wrote:

I really suggest that the experts go to the crematoriums to take a look. There is no place to put the deceased, they’re parked outside in temporary containers, there’s no time left to hold a farewell ceremony and you can only directly cremate, and for those who were able to have a ceremony, they need to finish within ten minutes (..) At the funeral parlor’s big screen, there were eight names on every page, and there were ten pages for all the people in line that day, I stood there for half an hour and didn’t see the name of the person I was waiting for pop up anymore.”

As the video of the display in the crematorium travels around the internet, many commenters suggest that it is not necessarily the real-time ‘departure’ board itself that bothers them, but how it shows the harsh reality of death by listing the names of the deceased and their cremation status behind it. Perhaps it is the contrast between the technology of the digital display boards and the reality of the human vulnerability that it represents that strikes a chord with people.

One blogger who reposted the video on Jan. 13 wrote: “Life is short, cherish the present, let’s cherish what we have and love yourself, love your family, and love this world.” Among dozens of replies, some indicate that the video makes them feel uncomfortable.

Another commenter also wrote:

I just saw a video that showed an electronic display at a crematorium, rolling out the names of the deceased and the stage of the cremation. One name represents the ending of a life. And it just hit me, and my tears started flowing. I’m afraid of parting, I’m afraid of loss, I just want the people I love and who love me to stay by my side forever. I don’t want to leave. I’m afraid I’ll be alone one day, and that nobody will ever make me feel warm again.”

One person captured why the information board perhaps causes such unease: “The final moments that people still spent on this earth take place on the electronic screen in the memorial hall of the funeral home. Then, they are gone without a sound.”

 

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By Manya Koetse 
with contributions by Zilan Qian

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2023 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China and Covid19

Chinese Social Media Users Respond to Covid-Related Death Toll

While many commenters support Chinese authorities for providing data on Covid-related deaths, some questioning the accuracy were censored.

Manya Koetse

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On January 14, 2023, Chinese health authorities officially disclosed the number of Covid-related deaths between 8 December and 12 January. According to Jiao Yahui (焦雅辉), director of the National Health Commission’s Bureau of Medical Administration, a total of 59,938 Covid deaths were recorded. This number only covers Covid-related deaths in Chinese hospitals.

This is the first time China has given an exact number on the number of Covid-related deaths since the ending of its ‘zero Covid’ policy in December.

Earlier this month, Chinese official media stated that it is difficult to accurately assess the death rate during the early stages of an epidemic, and that an accurate assessment would later be made. The last report only recorded 37 deaths between December 7 and January 8.

According to Jiao Yahui, the death toll includes 5503 cases of death due to Covid-related respiratory failure, and 54,435 cases already had underlying medical conditions before getting Covid. The reported average age at the time of death was 80.3 years old, with the overall majority of patients (90.1%) being 65 and older. 56.5% were 80 years or older.

These statements were made during a press conference, where the peak of the current Covid outbreak was also discussed. On January 2, 2023, emergency departments across China saw a peak in visits – over 1,5 million emergency department visits in one day, – after which the number started to decline again. That downward trend was also visible in the number of hospitalizations of Covid patients, which peaked on January 5 of this year with more than 1,6 million patients hospitalized with Covid.

The top comments on Weibo, underneath a post about the death toll by state media outlet Xinhua, all spoke out in support of authorities releasing these numbers.

“It’s good to seek truth from facts, I hope the deceased can rest in peace and condolences to those left behind,” the most popular comment said, with another saying: “The country really did all they could and paid a high price to protect the largest number of people possible.”

“Open and transparent,” was another recurring reply within the comment section, which was controlled and only displayed the comments that were selected by Xinhua (“以下为博主精选评论”).

On TikTok (Douyin), the topic also attracted online discussions, with some threads less controlled than the Xinhua one, such as one underneath a post by the China Business Newspaper (华商报): “This number only counts hospital [deaths], there’s still those who died at home. I hope there’s no illness in heaven,” one Douyin user wrote, another one adding: “This data is not clear. Going back home to the countryside, the whole journey to the county town, there were really too many funerals.”

There were also many commenters sharing their own stories about loved ones they have lost. “This morning, my maternal grandfather passed away because of Covid, I no longer have a grandfather now, it’s so hard to bear.” “My grandfather died, he passed away at home,” others shared.

“Among these deaths is my husband, he was only 32 years old,” one woman wrote.

The fact that China’s recent data on Covid-related deaths only counts those patients who were hospitalized is something that is mentioned a lot by Chinese netizens, who suggest the actual number of deaths must be much higher if it would include those who died at home. Other comments also suggested that the number of deaths in the hospitals might also be underreported, asking for more clarifications on how these deaths had been counted.

This was something that was also reiterated by the well-known political commentator Hu Xijin (@胡锡进), who published a commentary on the issue on Saturday. He wrote that the recent numbers should be regarded as “incomplete statistics” (“不完全统计”) at a time when accurately counting the deaths in the midst of this Covid outbreak is very difficult. Authorities therefore only released the number of Covid-related hospital deaths in a “great effort to be objective.”

But the well-known blogger ‘Burn Superman Abao’ (@烧伤超人阿宝), a burn specialist at a Beijing hospital, suggested that the numbers do not make a lot of sense:

In 2021, we had a total of 36,570 hospitals in the entire country, including 3275 tertiary hospitals; 10,848 secondary hospitals; 12,649 primary hospitals; 9798 non-classified hospitals. During the epidemic, most hospitals fully opened and all departments treated patients with respiratory problems in order to take on this epidemic wave. What’s the concept of 60,000 Covid-related deaths in hospitals in over a month? If we assume all deaths occurred in secondary and tertiary hospitals and other hospitals had no deaths, then in five weeks’ time, every secondary or lower-level hospital in China only had an average number of 4 patients dying of Covid. In other words, on average, less than one patient per week per hospital dying of Covid.”

Later, the post was no longer online and his account was temporarily locked. On Sunday, the doctor wrote: “I won’t say anything else. I feel drained.”

Some also refuted Abao’s critique, saying that many tertiary hospitals in places such as Suzhou, Hangzhou or Hefei were not nearly as crowded as those in Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou, and that his claims could not be backed up by data.

One Weibo user wondered: “Is it possible, 60,000? Actually, it is not difficult to count the number [of deaths] – the crematoriums have all the data.”

Besides the discussions on the accuracy of China’s Covid death toll, there are also many commenters who just want to express sympathies and grief over all the lives that are lost: “I just hope they can rest in peace.”

Read more about the end of China’s ‘zero Covid’ policy here.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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