On Tuesday morning, a physician at Gansu Provincial People's Hospital was stabbed to death by a patient who she had treated for intestinal cancer three years ago. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:|
The case is not the only one of its kind. In September 2018, three doctors at No 1 Hospital affiliated to Peking University were attacked by a patient and her two family members; In July 2018, a doctor in Tianjin was stabbed to death by three people when she was on duty. In 2018 alone, there were at least 12 cases nationwide of doctors being attacked, which cost the lives of two doctors.
An attack against a doctor is especially shocking, because a doctor is considered a person who saves lives. And when the assailant is a patient, it is even more heartrending.
Attacks on doctors cast very negative effects on society as they deter people from entering the profession. For years, there have been several surveys that show doctors and nurses do not want their children to follow in their footsteps, and fear of violence is the chief cause of that.
In November 2016, an official survey conducted by the then National Commission for Health and Family Planning even found that China needed 86,042 more pediatricians to meet its needs, with the main reason for the shortage being people were reluctant to become pediatricians because of the frequent reports of angry parents assaulting pediatricians who they blamed for not treating their children properly.
Every case will frighten off a number of students from applying for a medical major. And each case damages the trust between doctors and patients－there have even been reports of doctors wearing helmets in their offices because they fear being attacked.
To curb this trend, those who attack doctors should be given heavy penalties. However, the current laws and regulations are far from tough enough in that respect. According to current laws, the attacker won't face criminal charges unless the victim doctor suffers a "light injury" or worse. "Light injury" as a legal concept has quite high standards, such as loss of skin of 20 square centimeters, or having a scar that's 8 cm long. So in practice, even if a doctor is beaten black and blue, it might be judged to be a "minor injury" and the attacker only faces detention, without any criminal charges.
It is necessary to alter these standards and let violent attackers face heavier penalties, so as to put a stop to the attacks on doctors.