Police told to protect medical workers

Updated: 2013-11-01 00:29

By WANG ZHENGHUA in Shanghai (China Daily)

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Police told to protect medical workers

 Nearly 1,000 people attended the funeral of Wang Yunjie, a physician who was fatally stabbed by a patient on Oct 25. After six attacks on medical staff in 10 days, the Ministry of Public Security vowed on Thursday to crack down on such violent acts. Ju Huanzong / Xinhua

Police nationwide have been told by the top public security body to crack down severely on crimes targeting medical workers, following a number of doctor-patient disputes resulting in death or injury to medical staff.

In a circular released on Thursday, the Ministry of Public Security said police departments should step up their examination and guidance of efforts made by hospitals to ensure workers' safety and to curb assaults on employees.

"No matter for what reason, or with what approach, organizations or individuals are banned from disturbing order in hospitals, harming the safety of medical workers, damaging hospital property or infringing on the rights of patients," the ministry said.

It added that police across China have discovered and prevented 200 crimes targeting medical staff, and helped to resolve 9,700 disputes between doctors and patients this year.

The ministry said it will support efforts by several other agencies to resolve disputes and strengthen patrols at hospitals.

It urged medical institutions to curb and reduce disputes from the source, improve communication between doctors and patients, make it easier for patients to file complaints, and to handle appeals properly.

The ministry and the National Health and Family Planning Commission released a guideline last week on hospital security, which requires a hospital with 3,500 workers or 2,000 beds to have at least 100 security guards.

A series of recent incidents have highlighted the strained relationship between doctors and patients.

In one of the worst, Wang Yunjie, 46, a chief physician in the ear, nose and throat department at First People's Hospital of Wenling, Zhejiang province, was fatally stabbed on Oct 25.

Police say the attacker was an unhappy patient at the hospital, Lian Enqing, who injured two other doctors in the attack.

Wang's funeral was held at Wenling Funeral Home on Thursday morning. Nearly 1,000 mourners attended, including his family and friends, colleagues, patients and local residents he may not have known.

Several of those attending described the funeral as a "heartbreaking but grand occasion". A large portrait of Wang hung on the front wall of the mourning hall, where people bowed to his body.

Banners placed on the hearse said that Wang served the public proficiently and his skills and moral qualities will be remembered.

The color of the hospital website has been turned to gray since his death.

Medical workers in Zhejiang and Shanghai mourned Wang and staged sit-ins at their hospitals on Thursday to urge society to adopt a more-caring attitude toward medical workers.

Zhang Chongxiao, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital affiliated with Wenzhou Medical University, said he and his colleagues mourned Wang's death and also bemoaned the strained relationship between doctors and patients.

"Zero tolerance of violence toward medical workers will eventually benefit the public," he said. "We are aware that the cause of such a strained relationship is complicated."

Hong Lihua, an obstetrician-gynecologist from Women's Hospital affiliated to Zhejiang University's Medicine School, joined her colleagues in a silent sit-in to mourn Wang and protest against violence.

"We know our responsibility is to heal the wounded and rescue the dying," she said.

The two doctors wounded in the attack, Wang Weijie and Jiang Xiaoyong, are recovering slowly.

Police say Lian, 33, launched the attack after being unsatisfied with nasal surgery he received in March 2012. Lian is under police detention.