Waiting All Night Outside A Hospital Hoping To See A Doctor

On a very normal night, a reporter saw a lot of people waiting outside the Xiangya Hospital. They had been waiting all night long, just for a “passport” to the doctors. The following contains her observations and opinions, plus some of her photos.

From NetEase:

One night of waiting, just for the "passport" to a doctor

Everyday, there are always a lot of people waiting outside the Xiangya Hospital. The waiting is just for the "passport" to the doctors.

At 5:30, the gate finally gave way and the crowd rushed into the hospital. Yang’s husband rushed to the registration window and he was the third one in line. It was a sign of victory! [Meanwhile, Yang Yan was submerged in the crowd. Numerous legs stepped on her, so her shoulder fractured. Yang’s night of waiting was all for nothing.] Yang walked to her husband, crying:”I got a fracture.” Yang’s husband had to withdraw from the line.  As a result, Yang did not get her mother and her husband’s “passport.” Instead, Yang was sent into the emergency room. When Yang and her husband left the line, a few hundred pairs of eyes looked at them, and hundreds of expressions were solidified there. Except for the babies sleeping on their mothers’ backs, everybody’s expressions were either sadness or joy.

I am aware of why people wanted to get close to the gate, why they waited on the ice-cold floor, why they carried their bleary-eyed babies in the cold wind. For all the scalpers, getting a treatment number is just a business, but for the patients and the weak, it is stubborn self-preservation. I observed the hospital for 5 nights, countless faces passed by in front of my camera, from the guarded, to the anxious, to relaxed and finally to numb because they did not have any more time to focus on me. They were concerned only with the result of a night of waiting.

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There was a baby asleep on her mom's back.

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There was a light rain outside. People were queued in the freezing cold, waiting for the hospital open.

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Outside the hospital, Mr Huang was covering his 18-year-old son with a blanket. His son was caught up in a pyramid scheme in Guangdong province. In order to escape, he jumped off a building.

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At 5:30 am, the door was opened. As if it was the 100 meter sprint, people rushed to the outpatient hall after the starting gun rang.

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31-year-old Yang Yan looked at her husband aggrievedly. She had been waiting since 2 am, but she fell down in the crowd, and was stepped on by a lot of people. She was waiting to register her mother and husband. But she went to the emergency room because she broke her shoulder.

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Every night, there are countless waiting outside the Xiangya Hospital. It is only for one purpose: meeting a doctor.

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Two tired people were squatting on the ground, helplessly.

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In the Xiangya Hospital, there was a fight between two guys because one of them jumped the queue. This kind thing happens every day in the hospital.

Comments from NetEase:

网易浙江杭州网友:

Everybody knows that Xiangya is a very good hospital, and people want to go to good hospitals. This hospital charges reasonable prices, and my brother goes to this hospital every time when he is sick. In order to make more money, some hospitals ask people to do a lot of unnecessary tests. A lot of people are from small villages, so they don’t know the dark secret. Thousands of RMB is just wasted on the tests.

网易江苏盐城网友:

This phenomena exists not only in Changshao, but also in Shanghai and other places. Why is it so hard to see a doctor in China?!

网易火星网友[可悲]:

Once again, a test of the Chinese conscience and humanity. How sad, indeed! What I see in the current society: money comes first and then life. What will happen next?

网易中国网友:

My poor compatriots!

网易天津网友:

Those stupid guys that all went to the same hospital! You deserve it!

网易广东湛江网友:

We need more private hospitals. Improvement comes with competition. Get more university students trained to be doctors and send them to hospitals. Otherwise, nothing will change.

网易中国网友:

As a doctor, I am very sad when I see this scene. Primary hospitals are breaking down, meanwhile, big hospitals have way too many people. I don’t understand. What’s wrong with Chinese people?

网易广东深圳网友:

There are a lot of scalpers in the queues. Hunan Television has reported this a million times. The tickets are in the hands of scalpers. They charge 200 kuai for each ticket. People who are really sick can’t beat those strong scalpers in a queue.

网易湖南株洲网友[呵呵]:

Doctors can do nothing about this, because they are not administrating the hospitals.

网易湖南长沙网友:

There are so many hospitals, but everybody wants to go to this hospital. Maybe it’s because people don’t trust the other hospitals.

网易广西柳州网友:

Fuck this. There are hospitals everywhere. Is this hospital really so good? Does Huatuo (a very famous doctor in ancient China) work for the hospital?

网易广东佛山网友:

Seeing a doctor is really difficult, expensive, and also annoying.

网易辽宁鞍山网友:

This is the great China.

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  • GP

    Wow. Not even 3 hours ago was I wondering what it was like going to a hospital in China, nice timing!

    • 250

      I have visited the hospital is China a few times in a few different cities (nothing serious) and i’ve never seen anything like this. Maybe i waited for an hour of so, but that’s typical even in England. Anyway the result is always the same: Go on a drip. I swear to god they treat everything the same way. Got a cold? Drip. Got cancer? Drip. Lost a leg? Drip. Dead? Drip.
      250 out

      • http://cnreviews.com Kai

        I agree, I swear IVs are used as panaceas here in China (and I’m not talking about IVs that actually have any medicine in them). It’s likewise a bit frustrating how many Chinese people actually buy the panacea as making any difference. It’s such a waste of time and limited resources, even an exploitation of ignorance. I usually say, “Dude, just drink a glass of water. For you, it’ll accomplish nearly the same thing and won’t cost you as much.”

    • Righteous American

      This is karmic punishment for their flagrant lack of foresight. Try using a condom next time China.

      • Cypher

        Yeah,right,you guys could also have used some foresight when you were supporting al-qaeda back then.

      • Parapraxis

        Fuck this clown. He doesn’t speak for all Americans.

        I mean, hell, we’re in the middle of a health crisis ourselves.

  • C.Bratton

    A chinese doctor told me that a lot of hospitals throughout China have doctors that never finished med school. Many just pay money for some type of medical license to practice. The guy that develops a healthcare system that works for China or the U.S. will be the guy that will rule the world.

  • ST

    I guess I’ve always been lucky? I’ve had to go to the hospital 4 times in China and most of the time the wait was not too bad and the hospitals were modern, new, clean and efficient. The only bad time I had was once in an older, crappy children’s hospital where is was kind of messy, smelly and there was a bit of a line but still… nothing as bad as in those photos.

  • FangYao

    see the story…keep yourself health in china please….
    it is time for GYM….

  • charlie

    This is my hometown, and the hospital where I shadowed physicians last summer. Tufts, here i come

  • Peter from Germany

    It’s awful. The horrors of a profit-based society – even in a hospital.

    They’ll examine you, say they can’t find any cause for your problem. Then suggest you stay in the hospital for IV.

    IV is a treatment for serious problems due to it’s toxicity. Western doctors prefer oral medication FIRST and IV only in urgent situations.

    • IG

      Chinese doctors give everyone IV, but I doubt this is only for profit. It’s probably their preference of the “medical culture”, just like western doctors prefer to give painkillers, anti-depressant pills and other good stuff to their patients. I don’t see how it’s incredibly awful by world standards. Health is the biggest and easiest place to rip someone off. Maybe people in developed countries don’t see how much they are getting charged in practice, because everything is hidden by insurance.

    • 250

      Actually i went to hospital recently with a bit of toothache, first the doctor suggested an IV, when i said i didn’t have time he gave me a list of pills to take. He then told me not to buy them in the hospital as they were too expensive and just to buy them at a regular drugstore. I couldn’t believe it! What an awesome guy.
      I owe it to him to defend an attack on his profession.
      Thank you Dr. Awesome!

      • Peter

        Indeed, he is very awesome.

        A Chinese doctor told me that the profit from medication sales [within the hospital] is split 3 ways.

        1/3 to the doctor.
        1/3 to the hospital.
        1/3 to the medicinal company.

        This was a few years back. I don’t know the certainty of this information. But kinda explains the hike in prices compared to selling the same medication OUTSIDE the hospital.

    • House Doctor

      The reason why people get IV’s is to treat for dehydration. Most sick people lack fluids in their bodies to maintain a stable and proper fluid balance. When you have the flu at home, your body looses fluids because you’re throwing up, sweating, urinating, etc. And you’re too sick to eat and drink much. By the time you get to the hospital after several days or even weeks with the flu, you are in desperate need of fluids. An IV can replenish the fluids that your body need very quickly and effectively. The most common fluid is saline which delivers not only fluids, but also salt content along with other needed minerals.

      This not only happens with the flu. The flu was used as an example. It can be anything from cancer where the patient is too tired to eat and drink to accident victims who have lost a lot of fluids.

      You can give yourself an IV to save cost if you want, but it’s best to do it in a sterile environment by a doctor or nurse because it requires inserting a needle into your vein. It’s quite dangerous.

      • http://cnreviews.com Kai

        House Doctor,

        As I mentioned above, I see an abuse of the IV in China for the most part. When administered for a legitimate reason such as quickly hydrating a dehydrated individual, I have no problem with it. Unfortunately, at least in my experience, I know of a lot of Chinese people who think an IV is some sort of cure-all. Of course, if it makes them feel better, so be it, but I just think it’s a waste of time and resources.

  • capt. nullz whatever

    The three or four time where I personally went to some Chinese hospitals I’ve never experienced anything like this.

    This is nuts.

  • IG

    Maybe this is the reason.

    “Everybody knows that Xiangya is a very good hospital, and people want to go to good hospitals. This hospital charges reasonable prices, and my brother goes to this hospital every time when he is sick.”

    I also have not seen any hospital as badly crowded as this. (Only in the big cities though, Beijing, Wuhan, ShenZhen) Although the reason is probably as this same commenter said, every other hospital charges crazy fees for medical tests and this one don’t.

    • Taojas

      Again this is a Quality vs Quantity problem – China’s eternal conundrum. Hunan has innumerable hospitals – big, small, private & public. But this hospital – Xiangya Number one – is the most famous hospital in Changsha and therefore by default in Hunan province. It is affiliated with Central South University (formerly Xiangya Medical college)and has the best reputation for both the quality of it’s doctors and it’s cost of treatment. It also has many nationally famous doctors with considerable research capacity. All of this means that it is swamped by people from all over Hunan. So Seventy-five million people all want “the best” and will queue and fight for it. This is similar to most of the East coast US population competing to use John Hopkins or the Mayo Clinic. The Hospital can’t cope and these photos show the result. I’e heard that Tongji Hospital in Wuhan is similar.

  • Icedew

    In China there are no famous doctors only famous hospitals. Its the same for any industry in China. No famous chefs, only famous restaurants. They made it that way so if the talented/best/key doctor’s, chefs or employees decide to run…. well you know, nobody cares because its the institute that is the famous one. Keeps salaries down too.

    • Jay K

      how true, so true

  • THE KID

    WWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOWWW

    The sad thing is, I can’t even feel sorry for these people. ……….

    The only thing I truley feel is anger towards the stupidity of these people and how 80% of chinese people don’t know how to act is public……………..i mean even in Beijing and Shanghai on subway trains……..

    The Government needs some serious programs in place

    • billy joel

      But that would be brainwashing propoganda!

    • Everybody Wang Chong

      You have to understand the culture of these people before you make such ignorant statements. In the West, people get in line because they know that as long as they wait, they will eventually get what they are waiting for let it be tickets to movie theaters, food from a restaurant, etc.

      In many developing countries, waiting in line will not guarantee you to get it because there aren’t enough supplies for everyone. So, if you or your family needs it, you’re going to push and shove to get it.

  • Jiajia

    I’m very appreciative to be able to locate a very good Chinese medicine doctor here recently in place of using Western medical treatment, which I was concerned about its strong side effects. But I wonder why the administration side of things can’t change like the rest of the world has, using a simple method of registering your medical appointment rather than having to line up at the break of dawn only to wait for hours during that day to hear your name being called out.

    • bleah

      What do mean by “Chinese medicine”?

  • dan

    If they asked to see an ID card at the place where you register this will reduce the problem. Make sure that the doctor only treats a patient when the name on the ID card and the ticket match up. I bet a large proportion of that croud were ticket scalpers getting tickets to sell to those who don’t want to queue.

  • http://www.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fsingaporeshortstories.blogspot.com%2F&langpair=en%7Czh-CN&langpair.x=7&langpair.y=11&hl=en&ie=UTF8 Singapore Short Stories in Chinese

    Wow so many people!

  • Moderately Informed

    So what is the U.S. public option going to look like if this is China’s? If it does pass, I had better see some Congressmen and Senators in that line.

    • gth793y

      The public option does not fundamentally change the set up of the health care system, it sets up a state sponsored and min. standard insurance for those who cannot afford the basics.

      In essence it cuts off the insurance company as the middle man, but it does not mean free health care for all, there is still a deductible. Its almost identical to MediCare, that is not exclusive to old people.

      You are not obliged to sign up for it, if you can and wish to have a more comprehensive insurance. The wealthy still receive superior standard of health care due to their superior insurance that they can afford.

    • House Doctor

      I would say that you are more ill-informed than moderately informed. The U.S. public option is an option for those who currently cannot afford healthcare. An analogy that I can use to explain to you is like the public transportation in major cities. It is subsidized by the government and used by people who can’t afford their own cars, but it won’t compete with the car dealers and manufacturers because these people can’t afford to buy a car to begin with. Sure, there are people who can afford to buy their own car, but still take public transportation. But because of the inconveniences (on a time schedule, change bus/train routes, no eating, crowds, etc.) of public transportation, there will not be many of these people. Everyone still pays into using the public transportation.

      The public option works the same way. Most people who can afford healthcare won’t take the public option because it won’t provide them with the features (or conveniences) that they need. Those who CANNOT afford will have take this the public option because that will provide them with at least minimal care. It will be subsidized by the government, but at least these people are contributing something for their healthcare.

      Compare that to what we have now…these people are not paying anything to their healthcare when they go to the hospitals. In the end, everyone who has insurance is paying for these people when the insurance company increases the rates.

      • Moderately Informed

        I’m referring to the lines. Adding millions of people into the health system will cause slow downs. The people that weren’t paying before thereby causing the cost of health-care to rise are only people with the catastrophic illnesses, gun shots, and so on. The public option(whether this includes preventative care such as regular checkups I don’t know) would certainly add volumes of more people into the health care system. I don’t see how this system can do anything but loose money, regardless if there is a deductible.

        • gth793y

          So what you are saying is fuck welfare, if one of those poor fucker’s crack baby has an infection thats easily treatable, we should just cast the baby in the river, since you know, we’ll be doing the society a great service, if the baby lives he’ll become a gang member 8 years later anyways.

          It is a system that looses money, in exchange for one of the basic liberties every developed country ought to provide, the liberty to health, the liberty to life.

          • Moderately Informed

            It seems you missed what I was talking about. I’m talking about the lines and the crowding that could/probably will be caused by this new policy.

            Also, I never said anything about throwing babies out onto the street or that by doing so would be a service to society. That is your own imagination/fabrication.

            I’m saying that with all the additional people being pushed through the health-care system, it will cause it to be even more sluggish than it already is. People still sit in Emergency rooms for hours waiting on treatment as it is. How long will you have to wait when you add 20+ million people into that system?

            On the cost issue. The public option is designed for those with lower income making it virtually acceptable for everyone. The issue is that an MRI still costs X amount of dollars whether someone is on the Public option or on a private insurance plan. Who picks up the tab on the public option when the person with the policy has paid their deductible? Everyone else.

            I’m not saying to throw people out on the streets that can’t pay. Primary care in hospitals deals with this issue and occurs I would say more often in the emergency room. Someone unconscious can not give proof of insurance so will they go untreated? Of course not. Also, the care in Emergency rooms and such are based on triage, not race, color, or creed.

          • Moderately Informed

            First, I never said anything about throwing people out on the street because of not being able to pay. Nor did I say anything about it being a “society a service” by doing so. This is from your imagination/fabrication.

            Second, what I was referring to was the fact that through the public option, millions of more people will be shuffled through the health-care system. Thereby creating longer waits and more delays potentially causing lines similar to the pictures above.

            Third, people are not thrown out on the street because they don’t have health insurance or can’t pay. This is addressed through Primary care that most hospitals have adopted. You can’t ask an unconscious patient coming from an ambulance whether or not they have insurance, they are treated just the same. This occurs today and in itself, creates a sort of universal health-care.

            Lastly, my mentioning the cost factor was that the politicians are saying that the plan will cost less than what we currently have. I find this hard to believe. An MRI costs the same whether a person is under the Public Option or private health insurance. After this deductible(it’s going to have to be pretty small considering the demographic that it’s catered to), who is left to pick up the rest? Everyone else. With millions of people now engaging in more frequent medical visits, whether they be preventative(which I don’t know if that’s included in the bill, haven’t read it, it’s kinda long) or otherwise, will cost more than this deductible will be able to cover. This will result in higher taxes, where else would it come from?

          • gth793y

            1. You are assuming that just because there is a public option that all the poor folks who’s previously not accustomed to health care will now all show up at the clinic. Even if your assumption is true, the increase in the quantity of demand will result the increase in the quantity of supply. More patients, more hospital and clinics. Health care is a market too, thus its responsive.

            2. The reason that these hospital runs so ineffectively is because that they are terribly underfunded. And this lack of resources is caused precisely by the lack of insurance, like you said

            “Primary care in hospitals deals with this issue and occurs I would say more often in the emergency room. Someone unconscious can not give proof of insurance so will they go untreated?”

            The hospital will have to treat these patients regardless of their insurance status, allot of times they end up not being able to pay for the cost incurred. The financial burden will then fall on the hospital. Its resources are being slowly diminished because of the lack of insurance. Grady Memorial is one of the most prominent hospitals in Atlanta, it has the nation’s number one trauma center, and its facing closure because of this reason.

            3. Regarding cost of the public option, just like any other government service, of course its going to be funded by government revenue, but just like unemployment checks, welfare checks and social security. Those who contribute pay for those who don’t. And isn’t insurance the same thing? the 9 clients who are not sick this year’s premium will help to pay for the one client who is in the hospital. And if you think its unfair that the taxpayers are burdened by the cost of helping the less fortunate in exchange for social stability, then perhaps we should just with welfare, social security, and medicare problems altogether.

          • House Doctor

            Moderately Informed,

            Those people are NOT additional people being “pushed through the health-care system.” They are already in the health-care system. Right now, those of us who are paying for insurance are paying for these people. These people are visiting hospitals with emergency health problems and they can’t afford it. So the hospitals have to absorb these costs and pass it on to those who can afford insurance by raising the hospital fees. What the public option does is make these people pay a minimal fee for their service.

    • mlgb

      This is nothing to do with public health. China has little/no public health. Almost everything is paid out of your own pocket.

      It’s rampant capitalism that causes scenes like this. To see a doctor you need a ticket, and those queues are made up mostly of scalpers who will take up all the available tickets and then on-sell them to actual sick people for a couple hundred RMB.

      • House Doctor

        I think he’s talking about the “public option” which is one of the things that the U.S. government is trying to create to fix its healthcare system.

        • mlgb

          I realise that (after all, I consider myself moderately informed). I was referring specifically to this comment:

          So what is the U.S. public option going to look like if this is China’s?

          Well, this isn’t China’s public option. China doesn’t really have public health, it’s almost fully user pays, and so to imagine that the US will somehow be like this after it implements a public health policy is incredibly misguided.

  • lostinsz

    In contrast Chinese dentists are pretty okay and dont cost an arm and a leg.

    • Everybody Wang Chong

      Then why do so many Chinese have bad teeth?

      • dave

        Because it isn’t important or just a waste of money in their minds. I think many Americans also neglect going to the dentist after they grow up but have generally learned good dental hygene and had their teeth straightened when they were under their parents care. I also heard that many Chinese in their 30’s and 40’s were given some medicine when they were children that made their teeth turn brownish. But yes, some people just have pretty bad teeth.

  • Miako Tamatsue

    NHK of Japan recently aired a documentary on hospitals in China. The Chinese government are aware of the problems with healthcare in China. Like American healthcare system, it’s very difficult to change.

    Building hospitals and running them will be costly because the government will have to subsidized if not run them because most Chinese can’t afford healthcare. Many students choose not to study medicine because it’s a lot of hard work and the pay is relatively low. Or they can go overseas and practice medicine and make more money.

    The government is allowing private modern hospitals to be built in the hope of relieving the government-run hospitals. The problem is that these private hospitals are taking away people who could afford to pay from the government-owned hospitals like the one pictured above. So, the problem gets even worse. Furthermore, these private hospitals are catering more to foreign people. Foreigners are actually flying into China for medical procedures at these private Chinese hospitals because it’s inexpensive comparing to their own country.

    Waiting in line is just the beginning of these people’s problems. Once they get in, they have to be able to afford the tests and it’s usually pay first, then we will treat you. In the NHK program, they showed parents of a boy, who was going blind and who needed a simple medical procedure (eye laser surgery), scrapping, borrowing, and begging money from strangers, friends, and relatives. They even sold a lot of their personal belongings. The boy had the first procedure done, but in the end, they couldn’t afford the necessary follow-up visits.

    I guess healthcare has become a major problem for both capitalist and socialist societies. In Japan, patients died in ambulances because hospitals don’t have the staff and/or room to accept them. In American where insurance is the backbone of the healthcare system, millions are going without it and many hospitals are shutting down because all they treat are people who can’t afford to pay.

    • m5

      It really isnt worth it to be a doctor here in China financially. The chinese in general seem to dislike them and discount them as money grubbing despite the amazingly hard amount of work they put in. Then at the end of the day, they are not nearly as well off as most other professionals of the same caliber of education and work load. Its really just not worth it to be a doctor here in China…

  • Duchemin

    I have a suggestion: why don’t you create a Socialist or a Communist party in China to defend the interests of workers and to provide them with decent housing and accessible health care?

  • Charlie Bean

    Reading these comments, most of them created a negative view of an issue that is is wide-spread throughout the world. Even if ou are in a so-called developed country, this is an issue only in a different way.

    As I see it China needs to provide for more doctors and allow them to open more clinics or doctor’s offices. So many doctors are leaving the General Practice field and going into the specialize field. This causes a lack of general care for common illnesses. Chinese, lack others should go into the medical field, but they should also get paid for their efforts as well and have more respect for what they do.

  • Pingback: Waiting for a doctor in a big Chinese city «Asia Health Care Blog()

  • LongTian

    With all the talk about saline IVs, I’m surprised nobody mentioned the other Chinese cure-all: antibiotics. I lost count of the number of times Chinese friends have told me to take antibiotics, for everything ranging from a simple cold, to the flu.

    • House Doctor

      It’s not a Chinese problem. It’s a worldwide problem with people over-using antibiotics.

  • dave

    I have a class with some doctors and they have told me that the patients will sometimes even beat the doctors if they don’t cure them. They said that Chinese people don’t look up to doctors the way people in the west do. Is this true?
    I will arrive at the hospital at 6pm and it is full but tame but when I leave at 8:30 I walk through a different world. I am not saying it isn’t tame but it has a different atmosphere after dark. The ‘bao an’ wear helmets and have big sticks. Seems a bit scary. Maybe LA hospitals are the same but I am a small town boy.

  • http://moominhouse.blogspot.com moom

    Weird. My only experience with the healthcare system in China was in Tianjin where my wife (Tianjin native) decided she wanted to see a dentist went to a hospital and got a check up more or less on the spot with no wait. This would never happen in any western country I’ve been in. Only an emergency would be treated the same day and likely with a long wait.

    • dave

      What are u talking about? She went to the dentist! Did she break a crown or something? I never had problems “wanting to see a dentist” back home. What Western countries were you in? Ghana? Liberia?

      • http://moominhouse.blogspot.com moom

        I bet if you walked into most dentists clinics around the world and say you want your teeth cleaned or a check up or whatever they’ll tell you they’re booked up for the next week or whatever. Unless you are lucky and they have an empty slot. There was nothing wrong with her teeth just wanted a regular checkup/clean. My point is not everywhere in China is crazy like in this article, which could give people the wrong impression about typical conditions which many people here have commented is the case…

        • kailing

          Agree. I usually go to a medium size Chinese military hospital (not for foreigners) and usually I am out in 1 1/2 hour, 2 hours if it includes urine and blood tests with the drugs on hand… and cheap 200 something RMB something all

  • Mike Fish

    First, I think the article is mistaken. Xiangya(湘雅医院) is a famous hospital in Changsha, Hunan, founded in 1906 and part of the South-Central China University of Medicine. It is not in Guangdong. It’s likely locally quite famous and considered THE hospital.

    http://changsha.8684.com/landmark/station/71987/xiangyayiyuan.html

    Second, here in Guangdong, I know of plenty of hospitals from Guangzhou to Shenzhen to the smallest towns in Guangdong, from the expensive ones in the CBDs to the small ones in the country, that I see or visit often, I’ve rarely seen anything like this. I’ve had a child, a major surgery, treatment for dysentary, and a list of other things between me and my family members, all at various hospitals, of various quality, in various places. None of them were fancy hospitals for foreigners and most of them were very ordinary. Service was always good, no frills, but good. I can’t figure out why that hospital is so crowded.

    Maybe they were having a discount on some surgery? Or giving away free medicine? Or they paid for an advert in the newspaper saying the other hospitals will kill you?

  • PaulBrad

    Actually is quite easy to fix, when people register and are given a number assign their name and ID card number to that ticket. Tickets non transferable.

    Get the scalpers out of lines and leave it for people who are really sick.

  • bossman

    Isn’t China just fucking stupid! I am hating here. More and more each day.
    It is the same as America, nothing to be proud of all.

  • fireworks

    hospital system in China is under stress with the aging population and even normal everyday patients. The rich will simply go to Hong Kong or overseas to get treatment. The poor will suffer by waiting to go on a list.

  • m5

    Not all chinese hospitals are like this. Really depends on which hospital and which city. So true the comment, that this is not about doctors, but about administrators.

    Ive waited no more than 20 mins to see a doctor in China at times in regular public hospitals. However, I have also waited more than 6 hours to see a decent doctor that I specifically wanted to see. It all depends.

    My source of info? I did an internship in a chinese hospital in my last year of medical school.

  • lee

    Its an open secret that most of the hospital in China put profit first intead of patients…that’s why nobody is doing anything to rectify the situation…

    THE HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATORS=M.Y.O.B.

  • jed

    mother of god, I LOVE IRONY!! i’m still laughing

    oh yeah and the dreaded “gua shui” – Chinese believe ANYTHING a doctor says

    “Duchemin says:
    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 6:27 am

    I have a suggestion: why don’t you create a Socialist or a Communist party in China to defend the interests of workers and to provide them with decent housing and accessible health care?”

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  • chanel

    health care reform in action

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  • Daniel

    In China there always was and always will be millions of university students pursuing very long careers. There are enough doctors to treat everybody.
    What is happening here as also shown in the recent NHK world documentary: “The Patient Parade”
    is free market GREED. People have ONE child per family and when such a child gets sick they will do ANYTHING for that child (usually a boy). Also they are experiencing an ageing population. So it is a combination of demographics, ignorance, corruption and greed. The government has relaxed the system to bring in competition and so this is the tragic result.

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  • Slob

    Good job, let’s wait in line overnight to see a doctor who will tell you the same thing regardless of whether you have a common cold or lung cancer – Get some more rest, drink more water, and buy this expensive medicine you don’t even need and take these drips that do nothing.

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