Frustrated Chinese turn on doctors

DOCTORS in China are increasingly becoming victims of violence, according to letters in The Lancet that describe rising community tensions and an attack on six surgeons.

The combination of poor public understanding of disease prognosis, under-funded hospitals, poor training of doctors, and the elevated status of a family’s sole child, was leading to rising cases of healthcare workers being targeted when a patient’s health did not improve, they said.

“Medical disputes and tension between doctors and patients have increased in recent years in China, and doctors have become progressively demonised,” Beijing hospital staff wrote.

Lancet 2011; 377:1747