A female doctor has died after a patient at her hospital in Tianjin province attacked her with an axe. No clear motive has been provided for the attack.
Kang Hongqian, 47, was attacked and killed in her clinic on the second floor of the No 1 Hospital, which is affiliated to the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Wang Hongdong, the hospital’s chief spokesman, said the man had smuggled in the axe after lunch, when security guards and doctors were on a break. He added that the hospital had increased its security this year, in line with new directives from the health ministry.
The attacker was a previously a psychiatric patient at the hospital, and had a history of depression.
In July, 17-year-old Li Mengnan was convicted of murder after stabbing four hospital staff to death in a hospital in Harbin. However, he received a surprising amount of public support for his drastic act, with two-thirds of respondents to a poll on the People’s Daily website sympathising with him.
In 2010, there were more than 17,000 “incidents” aimed at hospital staff, up from 10,000 five years earlier and the Lancet, a medical journal, has pronounced that “China’s doctors are in crisis”.
In a survey released last month, 92 percent of doctors described their profession as carrying with it “great risk”.
Some background on the problems facing the Chinese health system from the AP:
Despite an injection of more than $240 billion in government funding into health care over the past three years, the doctor-patient relationship has continued to break down. Doctors are overworked and underpaid, and many push drug sales or charge extra for services such as deliveries to make more money. Patients are faced with high medical expenses, brief consultations and often poor quality care.
The government’s attempts to fix the system may even have made some things worse. Its rapid expansion of insurance coverage means that more patients can pay for health services, which are mostly provided by public hospitals. But even as demand has gone up, doctors and funding are still in short supply. Hospitals are often scenes of disarray, with beds overflowing out of wards into corridors and shouting matches between patients and medical staff.
The anger built up over years is now exploding into violence, with doctors, nurses and interns around the country stabbed, punched or otherwise assaulted by patients or their relatives over the past year. A few have died. Although official data is unavailable, state media reports say there were more than 17,000 “violent incidents” at health care facilities nationwide in 2010, a 70 percent increase from 2004.
Dr Kang had only just returned to work in Tianjin No. 1 Hospital after surviving a breast cancer scare.