Chinese Doctors Taking Selfies During Surgery Controversy

Chinese doctors take selfies and group photos during surgery in an operating room while the patient is still on the table next to them.

From NetEase:

Doctors at a Hospital in Xi’an Take Selfies Next to Operating Table, Make Poses and V Signs

What can be clearly seen from the photos is that this is a surgical operating room that was then in the middle of a surgery, that medical personnel holding surgical blades were in the process of operating, while medical personnel to the side were instead making poses, making V signs [hand gesture], taking group photos.

This group of photos was posted by netizen “当维美不再唯美” this morning [December 21] on Weibo. The text description is: “As a medical professional, I want to say no wonder the relationship [situation] between doctors and patients is so tense. Just what are you doing during surgery?”

What more, the microblog user says this set of photos is from a hospital in Xi’an.


From the replies [comments] on Weibo, the microblog user can be seen claiming to also be a medical professional, that posting the photos was only to let the media know, to crack down on bad situations, and that the set of photos were personally taken by an insider of his hospital who had posted it to their friends’ circle [social network account].

Through private messages, this Metro Express reporter contacted this microblog user. The microblog user claims this set of photos are of a hospital in Xi’an, that the photos were forwarded from a classmate’s blog, because this classmate is also in the photos.

However, he is not willing to reveal the name of the hospital, and had also deleted this microblog post in the afternoon.


Just when were the photos taken? At what hospital were they taken? Under what circumstances were they taken? We are unable to find out, but this patient who is on the operating table having surgery performed on him, he definitely wouldn’t want himself exposed to the public like this.

This morning, the group of photos on Weibo captured the attention of a large number of netizens. The photos showed medical personnel in the middle of surgery, but their behavior was not very professional.

A very serious surgery, where the patient is still lying on the operating table, yet medical personnel are instead making poses taking selfies [self-photos]… and now a netizen has exposed it on their microblog, that this was a scene from a major hospital in Xi’an. What do you think?


Comments from NetEase:

TTVVRR [网易湖北省武汉市网友]:

The [tense] relationship between doctors and patients, hehe… There is no hate without cause.

HS丶 [网易湖北省襄阳市网友]:

If you don’t look for death, you won’t die.

小雅巴 [网易北京市网友]:

The worst thing in this is that the patient is still on the table. If it were you people taking a photo at work while on break, then it wouldn’t have been a big deal!

网易浙江省丽水市网友 [招投标中心]: (responding to above)

I think the operation was already over. The head surgeon is usually the busiest while the other assistants often have nothing to do.

偕忘轩 [网易江苏省徐州市网友]: (responding to above)

Second floor [first responder], from your reply, I can only see the shamelessness of you medical personnel!

马航灰机去哪儿了 [网易内蒙古呼伦贝尔市网友]:

When you see this kind of doctor, would you feel the desire to kill?

想念毛澤東 [网易上海市网友]:

Is this using a person’s life to “show off”? Talk about no medical ethics at all! How can they be fit to be doctors at all!

神评论 [脑洞已炸]:

Hospitals are not for treating people, but to make money.
Schools are not for cultivating human talent, but to make you obedient.

宗泽大元帅 [脑洞已炸]:

A fuss about a selfie, then what about taxi drivers who smoke while driving? All professions are the same, no one should point a finger at others!!

爱囯者👨 [网易广东省佛山市手机网友]:

Compared to the older generation, your generation’s science and technology has gone up, but your sense of responsibility and humanity has instead gone down. Is it worth it?


From NetEase:

“Operating Room Selfie” Doctor: Elated After Completing 7 Hour Difficult Surgery

This morning [December 22], Xi’an Fengcheng Hospital Hand and Foot Microsurgery Director Zheng Xiaoju said that day was August 15th and was the last surgery to be performed in that surgical operating room, involving a migrant worker over 40 years of age who had suffered a serious injury to his leg. The difficulty level of the surgery was very high, and no one ate or drank for 7 hours. In the end, the patient’s left leg was saved and everyone was elated so they took the photos to capture the moment as well as to bid farewell to this operating room.

December 22nd morning, at Xi’an’s Fengcheng Hospital, this China Business News journalist met one of the people involved in the operating room selfie [self-photo] controversy — Hand and Foot Microsurgical Director Zheng Xiaoju, who explained in detail the situation at the time.

That day was August 15th and was the last surgery to be performed in that surgical operating room, involving a migrant worker over 40 years of age. He suffered a serious injury to his leg while working, with bone fracture and loss of skin, that other hospitals said would require amputation. The difficulty level of the surgery was very high, conducted under a microscope to repair blood vessels and the wounds. The surgery lasted from 10 in the morning until 5:30 in the afternoon. No one ate or drank. In the end, the patient’s left leg was saved, and everyone was elated.

Just after the patient’s cast was finished and before leaving the operating room, everyone took a group-photo together for posterity. One reason was because the operation was successful and everyone was very happy. Another reason was to say goodbye to an old operating room that had been used for ten years, that was to be renovated into a new operating room the next day. Zheng Xiaoju says the reason her surgical mask was removed at the time of the photo was because, as the head surgeon, she had already exited the operating room but had been called back for the photo. She’s also allergic [sensitive] to the masks and has to place a piece of cloth under it every time she wears one. At the time, because she was in a rush, she didn’t find the piece of cloth again and put her mask back on. “It was summer at the time, the weather was very hot, and the operating room did not have air conditioning because of the renovation. Only a small fan was used, and everyone was sweating from the heat. The surgery went on for a long time and was very hard, so everyone was especially tired. Knowing the old operating room would no longer be used, everyone also wanted to take a photo to remember this special moment.”

Since the the photos were exposed three days ago, Zheng Xiaoju has had difficulty sleeping each night as she simultaneously read netizens’ comments and cried, never having expected that such a thing would incite so much attention. As she reflected on her oversight/negligence, she also hopes the public can be understanding of doctors and their profession.

Comments from NetEase:

网易辽宁省沈阳市手机网友 ip:175.167.*.*


网易新疆手机网友 ip:117.190.*.*

I choose to believe [her]. Because the surgery was already over.

佐佐木清新 [脑洞全开]:

Support doctors. The media is maliciously biasing public opinion, severely damaging the reputation of doctors.

网易河北省沧州市手机网友 ip:221.195.*.*

These medical personnel deserve respect.

2192501711 [网易江苏省南通市手机网友]:

Support doctors.

网易江苏省宿迁市手机网友 ip:218.93.*.*

The internet is a double-edged sword. Sometimes what you see is too one-sided, the comments too dogmatic. If it really was as the doctor wrote, then it was no big deal.

东方一烨 [网易北京市手机网友]:

I don’t think there was a problem. What’s wrong with doctors taking a photo after finishing an operation and making sure the patient is okay? Doctors are people too. That said, was the mobile phone disinfected?

丽地方郭德纲 [网易湖北省咸宁市网友]:

This really is okay. Doctors are human too. What’s the big deal with finishing such a difficult surgery and taking a photo?

网易陕西省西安市手机网友 ip:113.200.*.*

There are always meddlesome busybodies making a fucking fuss!

网易北京市手机网友 ip:114.242.*.*

Operating room selfie touches haters’ [flamers, netizens who tend to complain] g-spot.

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  • TheInconvenientRuth

    I can only imagine the captions… “This guy didn’t even need surgery, but now I can buy a new iPhone 6plus. Thank you brother!”

    • Jahar

      The guy on the table could be named “open-heart brother.”

  • mr.wiener

    Not professional perhaps, but an over reaction.

  • biggj

    These guys taking selfies are the least of your worries in a chinese hospital…..Well some chinese hospitals.

    • HaHa – Good One

      I saw this guy (Bobby Slayton) many years ago; couldn’t find the exact clip, but this guy is hilarious

      Chinese haircuts all like Moe

      • Alex Dương

        I think he can’t do racial humor anywhere near as well as Russell Peters can.

        • mistertibbs4u

          Or Chris Rock… or Dave Chappelle… or the late, great George Carlin…

          • Alex Dương

            Racial humor requires some actual understanding of who you’re making fun of. “Ching chong ting tong” shows that you have zero understanding of Chinese or other Asians.

          • mistertibbs4u

            First, your statement mentioned racial humor, not racial humor concerning Asians.

            Second… just because Russell Peters made a “cute” anecdote *one time* regarding the spirited exchange between Indians and Chinese does not make him an expert on race-based comedy.

            He once made a joke that Africans came to China and were offended when they went to a KFC and heard the counter person say “nage… nage…” That was lame because African-Americans not actual Africans are the ones more than familiar with the word… and second African-Americans are the ones to set up a joke about KFC… not Africans, who more than most Asians, are more likely to eat meals cooked at home. Accurate… not… funny… not…

            So like I said before, Russell Peters is great humor for people who have a corny reference of humor, or have never heard of Chris Rock… Dave Chappelle or George Carlin.

            Black Guy: Are you Chinese?
            Korean Guy: Am I Chinese? I’m not Chines, I’m Korean! Do I like Chinese to you?
            Black Guy: Yeah, actually you do! Don’t be mad… some people think all black people look alike… we usually call them… police.

            – Dave Chappelle

            Chris Rock… and George Carlin… and then (crickets chirping) Russell Peters…

            Sorry dude. No dice.

  • commander

    If the surgery on the patient in the picture turns out to not go well and he or she gets worse, the group photo of the presiding doctor and his supporting medical staff will be seen as evidence of ridiculously unprofessional and as one of causes for problems in prognosis of the patient.

    Taking narcissistic selfies in an operating room should be barred because from the moment a doctor walks into the room and put on a pair of plastic surgery gloves, he or she is responsible for the life of a patient when a minor error could bring devastating effect on the patient.

    Photographing in the surgery room just before or after the procedure highlights how unprofessional the medical staff in that hospital is.

  • Ken Morgan

    It’s not so bad. What is bad is the Bristol surgeon who graffiti’d his patients burning his initials into their livers.

  • ClausRasmussen

    It is fun to compare the Chinese commentors reactions to the two articles: The first from Metro Express create a rage while the second from NetEase, with an interview of the surgeon, is met with understanding and praise of the profession

    It is enlightening and worrying how a journalist can affect public opinion. To me, the unsung hero of this story is the NetEase journalist that comes along as a real professional

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    As Jontron once said “Here’s a list of other things I wouldn’t want him doing: ANYTHING ELSE BUT MY FUCKING SURGERY!”

  • biggj

    Well that would not make for a good story would it? The only good news is bad news.

    • Rick in China

      I don’t read it that way. I read it as doctors asking a patient whose body is fucked up if they can take some photos. If a doctor who has a scalpel in one hand and your life in their other asks to take photos with you in them, of course you’ll say “um………yeh, it’s ok, please save me.”

      If the patient said “No.” the doc may say “Ooops, we forgot something. Nurse, put ’em under.”

  • Chestnut Bowl

    Assuming the latter story is true, then this was an overreaction. As long as no one was hurt, however, then I don’t mind this kind of overraction if it reduces frivolousness in the operating room. I’m sure doctors act out like this in various hospitals around the globe, but there’s a time and place for everything.

  • lonetrey / Dan

    NBD. Mountain out of a molehill :/

  • mr.wiener

    Thanks for the update.

  • Probotector

    White people do it too, so the Chinese can do no wrong! Two wrongs make a right as long as America or somebody did it first.

    • Alex Dương

      Two wrongs don’t make a right, but at the same time, it doesn’t make any sense to critique one wrong and absolve another (basically identical) wrong.

      • bujiebuke

        don’t feed it, don’t feed it…

      • mistertibbs4u

        Ahh… but you have fell for the colonist logic mindset!

        Screw that… two wrong’s don’t make a right… but it sure makes it even!

        If we all felt two wrongs didn’t make a right, then ALL murderers would walk tomorrow…

        But no… that logic is saved and reserved for “special” segments of society… well, I say… bravo Probotector… bravo

        “Probotector”: Feed me, Seymour, feed me!
        Mrtibbs: “Okay… but only this once…”

  • firebert5

    “A fuss about a selfie, then what about taxi drivers who smoke while driving?”

    Don’t worry. I’m against both.

  • Rick in China

    WTF. It’s not a “SELFIE”. A Selfie would be a doc holding his/her own phone taking a picture of his/her own face with whatever in the background. It’s NOT a person taking a photo of a group of people – that’s called a fuckin photograph.

    • Teacher in China

      Was just going to post the same thing. Jon Oliver did a great little segment of people calling things “selfies” on the news that weren’t selfies. Not a selfie.

      • Rick in China

        Exactly, saw the segment, was thinking of it when I posted also :D

  • Are these selfies, really? Nobody in the photos are holding the camera.

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