China launches new law to protect doctors


China's top legislature on Saturday passed a law on medical staff safety in a move which appeared to be a timely announcement after the brutal slaying of a Beijing emergency room doctor by a patient's son on Tuesday. 

The Basic Healthcare and Health Promotion Law states that the personal safety of medical personnel and their dignity are inviolable. 

The law prohibits any organizations or individuals from threatening or endangering the safety of medical staff and will take effect on June 1.

Medical staff hailed the legal move but also asked for more detailed, specific practical protection after the murder of Dr. Yang Wen in a Beijing hospital on Christmas Day.

Yang, an emergency room physician, died when her neck was slashed by Sun Wenbin, her patient's son, on Christmas Eve. 

Sun threatened Yang a few days before the tragedy after being told a bed shortage prevented his 95-year-old mother from being transferred to the inpatient department. 

Yang's death ignited public anger on the Chinese internet, with users of Weibo denouncing the murder and some uggesting hospitals install security checks. 

The National Health Commission called the incident a "severe crime" - not a medical dispute - and reiterated on Friday that the department adopted a zero-tolerance policy toward violence against medical staff.

A Beijing nurse who asked not to be named said they had been "looking forward to legal protection for a long time" and she expected more detailed measures to be stipulated in specific regulations and laws after the guideline-like law was enacted.

She suggested doctors be entitled to call security before a knife is pulled, when they sense potential danger or violent behavior.

Hui Hui, a deputy director of the vasculocardiology department of Dalian Municipal Central Hospital in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, said that he felt relieved to see attention for the issue "but more should be done to make the protection practical, such as blacklisting people with such records from public medical services."

Source: BBC

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