China / Hot Issues

China to punish crimes in doctor-patient flare-ups

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-24 20:02

BEIJING - China will severely punish people who insult medical workers or set up shrines to late patients in hospitals, according to a guideline issued on Thursday.

The guideline, jointly released by the Supreme People's Court (SPC), the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice and the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said that six types of criminal conduct disrupting medical work will be severely punished.

"For some time, crimes such as assaulting doctors and damaging hospitals have been occurring in some regions," said SPC spokesman Sun Jungong of rising doctor-patient tensions in China.

There have been cases of aggrieved families setting up shrines in hospitals, especially when they accuse staff of negligence leading to the deaths of loved ones.

The guideline aims to crack down on and prevent such crimes in a bid to maintain medical treatment order and guarantee legitimate rights for both patients and doctors, Sun said.

The six crimes it specifies include attacking doctors and damaging public property, setting up shrines and burning paper money (a Chinese custom for paying respect to the dead) in medical institutions, restricting doctors' freedom, insulting medical workers, entering medical institutions with illegal arms, and instigating others to commit crimes against medical staff.

Those whose conduct constitutes criminality will be punished in accordance with the law, according to the guideline.

The guideline also urged medical institutions to reinforce complaint management and build convenient channels for patients to file complaints. Where people sue medical institutions for compensation, courts are urged to handle such cases in a timely manner.

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