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Chinese hospitals are cauldrons of discontent

The New York Times, August 12, 2010

Forget the calls by many Chinese patients for more honest, better-qualified doctors. What this Shenyang, China's 27 public hospitals really needed, officials decided last month, was police officers. And not just at the entrance, but as deputy administrators. The goal: to keep disgruntled patients and their relatives from attacking the doctors. The decision was quickly reversed after Chinese health experts assailed it, arguing that the police were public servants, not doctors’ personal bodyguards. But officials in this northeastern industrial hub of nearly eight million people had a point. Chinese hospitals are dangerous places to work. In 2006, the last year the Health Ministry published statistics on hospital violence, attacks by patients or their relatives injured more than 5,500 medical workers.