Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Medical dispute 'mediators' are actually extortionists

A recent string of violent disputes in Chinese hospitals has unexpectedly given rise to a shadowy new network of "medical mediators". Seeking to make a profit from disgruntled patients or patients' relatives, these false go-betweens have stoked already tense doctor-patient relations.
Safety concerns are at an all-time high in hospitals around China, following a spate of bloody attacks on medical workers. And out of these violent incidents has emerged a new profession: "medical mediators".
Often found floating around major hospitals and armed with basic legal knowledge, they form a shadowy and completely illicit business.
"These ’medical mediators’ get their information in hospitals. They try to get in contact with patients dissatisfied with the treatment received, or with the families of patients who died in hospital." Tan Peian, director of Police Station in Zhongshan city, said.
Mediators agree to help patients or families get compensation, in return for a fee.
Once both sides agree, the self-appointed mediators organize protests INSIDE hospitals, gathering dozens or even sometimes hundreds of demonstrators. Some of these rallies have ended in violence.
"I don’t know the patient. They just told me to give a hand by asking for a solution from the hospital." Protester said.
Important areas inside the hospitals are selected for the protests. These include the lobby, emergency rooms or even intensive care units: the more critical the location, the easier it is to obtain a hefty compensation package from the hospital.
Other people are meanwhile hired to spread rumors online, to cast both hospitals or doctors in a bad light, thereby increasing the chances of getting money.
If hospitals don’t cave in to compensation demands, mediators often turn on the patients and families they promised to help.
"After the mediators failed to get money from the hospital, they called us every day, asking for money. Sometimes even threatening us. Finally, we asked the police for help." Relative of patient said.
Local governments are now taking legal steps to punish anyone found guilty of making threats or disrupting service in hospitals.
Source:  CNTV

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