Today, a knife-wielding patient killed one doctor and injured two others at a hospital in China's Zhejiang Province. According to Xinhua News Agency, incidents of violence against medical staff are becoming increasingly common. In fact, the Chinese Hospital Association (CHA) recently released a survey showing that, for each hospital, the average number of assaults on doctors has increased each year, rising from 20.6 assaults in 2008 to 27.3 assaults in 2012.

Reports of Attacks

Earlier in the week, a man stabbed a doctor six times in northeastern Liaoning province and then jumped to his death from a hospital building, according to Reuters; his actions followed a disagreement over complications from surgery on his arm. The international news agency also reported a doctor being beaten by family members of a patient who died in hospital in southern Guangdong province.

The current attack on three doctors was mounted by a 33-year-old man identified by Xinhua, the official news agency of China, only by his surname, Lian. City government officials reported Lian stabbed the doctors, who worked in the ear, nose, and throat department of the No.1 People's Hospital in Wenling City. One doctor suffered only minor injuries, one was seriously injured, and Dr. Wang died, despite the efforts of hospital staff to save him.

According to Xinhua, Lian was unhappy with a procedure he underwent at the hospital. The National Health and Family Planning Commission sent investigators to the province while encouraging hospitals to boost security and to improve the process for settlement of disputes among patients and doctors.

Medical Staff Leave Profession Due to Violence

The CHA survey of medical violence was conducted between December 2012 and July 2013 among staff and patients at 316 hospitals throughout China. Released in August of this year, the survey cited the reasons for assaults on doctors, including unsatisfactory treatment, poor communication between patients and doctors, distorted media reports, and hefty expenses. According to Xinhua, the survey also noted that social conflicts, loss of trust, and unbalanced demand and supply of medical resources underlie the rise in violence.

Nearly 40 percent of surveyed medical staff said they plan to give up the profession due to the increase in violence, Xinhua reported.

The survey also discovered other problems plaguing the Chinese health care system. Medication side effects, product quality, no-fault medical behavior, and damage caused by patients' personal conditions, the CHA stated, also contributed to half of health care-related disputes.