Patient unhappy, kills doctor

BEN BLANCHARD
Last updated 19:20 27/01/2014

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A court in eastern China has sentenced to death a man who went on a rampage in a hospital and killed a doctor because he was unhappy with the results of an operation on his nose, state media said.

The case of Lian Enqing in wealthy Zhejian province underscored difficulties in tackling violence in a sector plagued by corruption, with hospitals overwhelmed by patients and doctors badly paid.

Lian, 33, had gone looking last October for the doctor who treated him at the ear, nose and throat department in Wenling city.

Unable to find him, he produced a knife and stabbed to death the head of the department, according to the official Xinhua news agency. Lian stabbed two other doctors before he was restrained by security guards.

Lian's sister, Lian Qiao, told the court that he had suffered respiratory problems and discomfort after the surgery in March 2013, Xinhua said.

''While the hospital confirmed that the surgery was successful, Lian felt he was being cheated by the doctors,'' the report quoted his sister as saying. Her brother, she said, suffered from ''persistent delusional disorder''.

The court, Xinhua said, found he was ''conscious of his crime and had the capacity for criminal responsibility''.

Central government spending on health care was budgeted to rise 27 per cent last year to 260.3 billion yuan (NZ$52b), in recognition of concern about a key driver of social resentment.

Concerns over corruption generate suspicion that staff are more interested in making money by prescribing unnecessary drugs and treatment than tending the sick. A doctor just completing medical school in Beijing earns about 3000 yuan (NZ$590) a month including bonuses - roughly the same as a taxi driver.

The government last year began a crackdown on medical corruption, targeting foreign drug makers in particular.

Many Chinese are simply unable to afford health care, despite government efforts to provide a basic safety net, which has also prompted attacks in the past.

Health ministry data shows that violent attacks on doctors and other health care workers in the form of beatings, threats, kidnappings, verbal abuse and murder reached 17,243 cases in 2010, the latest year for which such figures are available.

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- Reuters

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