A Chinese hospital can be more dangerous than H1N1

On Wednesday I read that a Chinese H1N1 patient had died while in hospital in Hangzhou. However, the strange thing was that her fever had already been gone for 7 days, so it was not very likely that H1N1 had killed her. At first I still suspected that doctors were just trying to hide the fact that H1N1 had now also been fatal for someone in China (she would have been the first Chinese swine fever casualty), but then I read that the female patient died while in the toilet, which made it even more unlikely that swine fever was the reason for her death.

Her relatives also suspected something else had gone wrong and a violent mob of 50 people attacked the hospital, throwing rocks at windows and ambulances . The crowd was right that something was fishy about her death, because today the hospital admitted that they were at fault: the 34-year old woman had been electrocuted while taking a shower! So you survive H1N1 only to be killed before being released by faulty electrical wiring… One more reason to avoid Chinese public hospitals as much as possible (just like public fountains).

Picture: / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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  1. Hi again Marc,

    I had a question…as part of the tightening up of the visa regime for ex-pat employees and the like, I'd wanted to know if this has resulted to some degree in more strict vigilance with respect to the "health insurance" requirement to secure the visa?

    I mean, this naturally means that Westerners in the first-tier cities must patronize the more sophisticated, well-run medical facilities in burgs like Shanghai and Beijing, but how much better is the service in these places if the entire Chinese health system — both the public and private ones — is fuelled by the need to always give backhanders and "gifts?"

    Your experience in this, for the non-executive employee, or in your case, as an entrepreneur? Have you blogged about this in the past?

    I suspect this is one of the first things to check off the list when planning a potential move over to Zhongguo, something I personally am indeed contemplating in the semi-near future…


  2. I do what Taiwanese do — go back to Taiwan for medical care.

  3. @adam I don't think there is any change in the health insurance requirement after the visa tightening last year.

    I normally go to private (foreign) hospitals in China, and try to avoid the public ones as much as possible. They are certainly not all bad, but there is no privacy whatsoever, you have to wait in line for hours and in order to get good doctors you often need connections (and/or money). However, I heard some good things about the 'foreigner departments' of some public hospitals. They give good service and are reasonably priced. I'd advice you to give them a try.

    @boyd Yes, that's another option. How about Hong Kong hospitals? In the early days in Beijing people were often flown to HK for emergency treatment.