The Chinese public's dissatisfaction with the offhand and uncaring medical treatment they receive in state-owned hospital extends even to celebs. The China tabloids are today running the sensational gossip story of how singer and Journey to the West star Han Xue (韩雪) lost her temper and screamed at a doctor who she was seeing at a Shanghai hospital for conjunctivitis.
The star has since apologised after her outburst hit the headlines, writing a piece on her Weibo blog about how the doctor treated her in a rude and offhand manner and refused to listen to her questions.
According to Han, she went to see a doctor at the Songjiang Branch Shanghai First People's Hospital after she developed a red eye from working underwater in a swimming pool as part of a film shoot. She got a ticket and waited in line like everyone else, only to be dismissed after just a cursory examination when she finally got a few minutes with a doctor.
Han Xue said the female doctor's attitude was indifferent and impatient, as she refused to even listen to her explanation of the eye problem. After a brief look at her eye the doctor wrote a prescription without saying anything to her.
When Han Xue remonstrated with the doctor, saying that she wanted a proper examination of what the problem was, the doctor merely replied that she didn't need to ask questions and could assess everything by sight. The doctor said she was busy and didn't not have time to waste. After being given a prescription and dismissed, Han Xue asked what the diagnosis was. The doctor simply said it was not a bacterial infection. When Han Xue complained about the lack of information and how the way she was treated was insensitive, the doctor said she was not a psychiatrist and didn't have time for niceties with a 'trivial' complaint like conjunctivitis. Han Xue retorted that her eye problem was not trivial to her, and that the doctor had a poor and unprofessional attitude.
The doctor said she didn't care, and this prompted Han Xue to 'lose it' and let out a stream of foul abuse at her. During the rant, the starlet asked the doctor whether she had been bullied as a child, and whether she had lost money on the Shanghai stockmarket crash. Shen finished with a shout that the doctor certainly did not deserve the title "Angel in a White Coat" (often applied in Chinese media to selfless medical staff).
On her blog, Han Xue apologised to the public for losing her temper and using bad language, but said she still stood by her judgement of the doctor as "uncaring and irresponsible" .
In the same week, Shanghai media have reported three separate physical attacks on hospital staff by irate patients and their families.