Saturday, 11 January 2014

"Corridor doctor" becomes whistleblower hero in official media for exposing waste and corruption in hospital

by Michael Woodhead
A Sichuan doctor who was banished from her office and had to practice in a hospital corridor for two years after exposing waste and corruption has been portrayed as a hero in China's national media.
According to a major report in Xinhua, Dr Lan Yuefeng was removed from her post as head of the imaging department at Mianyang Renmin Hospital two years ago after she queried overtreatment of patients and the hospital's obsession with income from commissions on drugs and procedures.
Despite losing her work office, Dr Lan is said to have continued coming into work at the hospital, where she stood in a corridor, occasionally consulting patients for minor illness. The media reports say she was shumnned by other staff and nobody would talk to journalists about her case.
When interviewed by a journalist, Dr Lan said she had been fired for questioning the system that encouraged overtreatment. The final straw was when she vetoed a recommendation for a patient with stable cardiovascular disease to have a pacemaker fitted. After that the hospital administration stood her down from her post.
Dr Lan said the hospital had become driven by a profit mentality, and each department had been set quotas for patients treated and targets for operations and procedures that made the most profits. She said the commission system was like a sickness and equivalent to theft from the patients. Not only was it causing waste, financial burden and uncessary treatment, it was also harmful for patients, she said.
The director of the hospital refused to comment on the case, and referred enquiries to the city's propaganda department. A spokesman for the department did not refute the allegations.

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