The doctors and nurses of the Fengcheng Hospital in Xi’an have ignited quite the public uproar after the celebratory set of selfies they snapped right after a successful operation were posted online yesterday.
Shanghai Daily reports that the photos, originally taken on August 15, were taken to commemorate the closing of an old operating theater. The theater was due to be replaced by a new one, opening up shortly after.
Following the backlash of criticism that swept across the web, the deputy director of the hospital, who was responsible for supervising the medical staff, has since been sacked. Both he and the director of the hospital have been heavily fined, according to a statement issued on Sunday by the Xi’an Bureau of Public Health.
Additionally, it was also revealed on Sunday night that fines equaling three months salary have been issued to each of the members of staff appearing in the photographs.
One of the staff spoke to a reporter to give his side of the story. He said that a 40-year-old worker was seriously injured on the job and in danger of losing his leg. The surgery was incredibly difficult and lasted for seven hours, during which time the staff didn’t eat or drink, in the end they were able to save the patient’s leg and took some pictures to celebrate. Some of the staff removed their safety masks because of the sweltering heat in the operating room, which was without an air conditioner.
The photographs were reported to have been taken by the hospital’s director, and, as expected, made for passionate discussions online between netizens.
Many observers were furious over the incident. One netizen expressed his displeasure at how the doctors appear to “ignore the patient and show no compassion.” Another asked, “where is the ethics, integrity and accomplishment [in this]?”
However, not all commenters have been disapproving. Another netizen, apparently a medical professional, used social media to discuss his opinion. “In the first picture, the surgeon has stepped down, as have his two assistants, to complete the skin sutures. In the second and third pictures, the operation has already been successfully completed and the patient is ready to be returned to the ward.” He added, “taking photos at the operating table to commemorate is a good thing.”
By Robert Ridley
[Images via NetEase]