Declining medical ethics

Updated: 2014-10-15 07:41

(China Daily)

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Pregnant women remain a disadvantaged group despite the advancements made by modern society. To ensure that pregnant women are not deprived of their rights and get timely medical attention and treatment, public health authorities should make it compulsory for hospitals to open their emergency treatment facilities for them, says an article in China Youth Daily. Excerpts:

A woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy was taken to Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, for emergency treatment. But the woman, a resident of the small city of Lintong in Shaanxi, was refused treatment by six hospitals in the provincial capital. In fact, her relatives spent five hours taking her from one hospital to another in Xi'an before the seventh hospital agreed to offer her medical treatment thanks to her family connections.

That the six hospitals refused to admit the woman for treatment to "avoid troubles" and evade risks, can at best be described as a violation of professional and medical ethics. Attending to the injured and the sick and trying to save critical patients are the sacred duties of doctors and hospitals. The fact that six hospitals refused to treat a serious patient is nothing but an example of industrial crisis, an issue much graver than an individual case.

As long as the medical treatment process is transparent and doctors try their best to provide appropriate medical help to patients, hospitals should not be reluctant to offer treatment to patients irrespective of the seriousness of the case.

The health authorities must reflect on their responsibilities, and review cases to understand the reasons behind the tense doctor-patient relationship. The absence of an effective mediation and investigation mechanism in the medical field to eliminate malpractices is one of the main reasons behind the tense doctor-patient relationship in today's China.

Before the Chinese government eased the family planning policy earlier this year, the capacity of hospitals, especially in big cities, to handle pregnancy cases, fell short of people's needs. The government should, therefore, use foresight to resolve the issue to help prepare for the increase in the birth rate.