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Save those who try to save others

By Zhang Zhouxiang | China Daily | Updated: 2019-12-26 07:43

JIN DING/CHINA DAILY

FAMILY MEMBERS OF a patient assaulted Yang Wen, a female doctor at the General Hospital of CAAC in Beijing on Tuesday, seriously injuring her in the neck. Early on Wednesday, Yang succumbed to her injuries. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

What took place at the hospital was not an isolated case. In 2018, there had been at least 29 such attacks on doctors or nurses and some deaths too. The figure is much less for 2019, but the brutality of the latest case shows we cannot breathe easy, because the death of even a single doctor means no doctor is safe.

When a doctor is killed, it also puts many other lives, including those of patients who were looking up to the doctor to cure them, at risk. And it could even damage the trust that exists between patients and doctors. Fearing possible consequences, doctors might not want to take risks when treating critical patients.

One wonders what kind of mentality makes one attack doctors. After all, doctors and patients should be like comrades in arms on a battlefield, fighting a common enemy called disease. But in reality we often see patients or their family members vent their anger on doctors who were, often, just trying to save the patients' lives.

The provocation could vary from case to case but if we analyze carefully we would notice that in most cases the patients had fatal diseases and their relatives expected the doctors to save him/her. And on being told that the doctors could not do much, they became desperate and vented their anger on the doctors.

It was loss of hope that prompted patients or their families to lose control. This is more often the case when the patients spend a lot of money and energy to reach hospitals in order to consult doctors. They then peg too much hope on the doctors.

Had there been a counseling mechanism for patients, some of the cases of assaults on doctors might have been prevented. It is advisable that hospitals arrange for more professionals to counsel patients suffering from critical diseases.

That is not to say that there can be any excuse for those who assault doctors. Violence is violence and anybody who assaults a doctor should be punished. On Wednesday, the Chinese Medical Doctor Association strongly condemned the violence, mourned Yang's death and called for joint efforts to protect doctors and nurses.

It is time society echoed that call.

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