(1) Why Are Chinese Patients Killing Their Doctors?

  • 579
  • 15
  • 4
  • English 
Feb 19, 2017 02:41
Every few weeks, my former high school classmates who work and live here have a get-together to catch up. Several of them are “doctors.” Some have been practicing for one year or two, the others are interning at hospitals – they are still in med school doing their Ph.D. studies. But they have one thing in common: Upon sitting down, they start to complain about how their lives as doctors suck. Since I’ve heard them gripe million times, I’ve developed a callus to it.

Unlike in many other countries, Chinese students have to attend med school right after graduating from high school if they want to pursue their medical careers. That means if they choose other majors as undergrads in university, they won’t be able to become doctors forever.

It’s not easy to become a doctor at all. The med schools’ score requirements unfailingly rank in the top lists. The medical undergrad education is five years long. The master education at least three years. It takes three to five years to obtain an M.D. The curricula is always full. Even on weekends, the med students still have to take courses or prepare for endless exams.

To practice at a regular hospitals, they need at least a master’s degree. If they want to work in relatively better hospitals, an M.D. is required. So, to be able to work at a good hospital, they have to spend more than ten years working hard at school. But that’s not enough, their performances during all these school years need to be competitive. Worse still, there’s at least one year of residency before they can truly practice.

In China, most reputed/qualified hospitals are state-owned. Private hospitals are generally believed to be full of quacks. The government controls state-owned hospitals, so here comes the first problem: the doctors’ salaries are capped and usually not very high; unlike in the US, doctors’ salaries rank in the top lists.

Also, there is no such thing as a family physician in China, so quite a few people go to see doctors at those reputed state-owned hospitals right when they are ill. Hence, the hospitals are always thronged, which leads to the second problem: every doctor has to meet dozens of outpatients every day.

Therefore, it’s not hard to understand why my former classmates persistently complain that they get little return from their sacrifices. Chinese doctors had good grades in high school, went on to spend more than ten years working freakishly hard in med school, but ended up living hectic lives and receiving less than they should.

As respected as they may seem, why do they actually work at the risk of being stabbed, or even being killed?