Don't judge doctors by one action

Updated: 2014-12-24 11:05

(China Daily)

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The recent public uproar over the online circulation of some group photographs taken by some medical staff beside an operating table in a hospital in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province, reflects the deep mistrust between patients and hospitals, says an article in Beijing Youth Daily. Excerpts:

A set of photographs, taken by some doctors and nurses in a privately run hospital in Xi'an after they completed a surgery, has drawn criticism from many netizens. Although some netizens have defended the medical staff, saying they were merely congratulating each other on the success of a difficult surgery, many have said that their action reflects their indifference toward patients and the degeneration of professional ethics. The opposing viewpoints mirror the two extreme opinions among the people vis-a-vis hospitals and doctors.

Many ordinary people do look up to doctors as benevolent souls who help patients recover from illnesses. Some even believe that doctors don't use the lancets to fulfill their personal interests. Still others say every successful surgery or treatment to cure a disease is nothing less than a miracle that gives a new life to a patient.

The negative impact of the photographs taken by the medical staff is the result of the long-standing conflict between hospitals and patients. And given the wide divide between hospitals and doctors on one hand and patients on the other, the chance of the two sides reconciling any time soon is remote.

It is difficult to understand why the medical staff in the Xi'an hospital chose to take photographs to celebrate their success when they were expected to inform the patient's family members eagerly waiting for some news outside the operation theater. But if people realize the relief and joy that the medical staff might have felt after successfully completing a difficult surgery, they will not say that the photographs reflect the decline in medical staff's professional ethics.