Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Indians Afraid of Chinese Hospitals-

Posted by w_thames_the_d on June 1, 2011


Great article here from the chinadaily. The article speaks to the fears of many but due to political correctness we cannot share. I have also attached some of the comments below this. The comments are great and seem to focus on the same theme. Of course I cherry picked so you won’t see many Chinese agreeing with the article.

Article from china daily here:
“You are unwell, let’s go to a hospital.” When I hear these words my body chills and misses heartbeats.
Chinese medicine is known for all its goodness around the world and yet the thought of going to a hospital is scary for most Indians. Unlike the Indian traditional medicine (ayurvedic medicine), which is based mainly on plants and minerals, Chinese traditional medicine uses a lot of animal extracts in addition to other herbs, although the scientific theory seems to be similar. It is probably the philosophies of treatment that differ in some ways. However, these days there is a lot of stress on Western medicine (called allopathic medicine in India) in both countries.
My first encounter with a Chinese medical treatment was in December 1995. I was studying at Liaoning University and due to extreme cold was caught by an acute sinus attack. I had to see a doctor, and the best and inexpensive way was to visit the university health center.
While I walked toward the health center, every other person was walking out with a drip of glucose bottle. Is this the only treatment in the health center, I wondered as I took the courage of entering the main gate. I was welcomed to queue to take a number (挂号 guahao) and explain to which doctor I need to pay a visit. I was referred to a general physician.
The room – outside and inside – was lined up with people of all sorts. No courtesy of waiting for a patient to see the doctor in private. I waited and waited until the doctor called me inside. As the doctor posed questions about the problem, I could feel the uneasiness of people around me. As the doctor intended to do a chest check-up, I was here for a rude shock. What? A check-up in front of everyone? Is this the way it works in China? No way, I screamed. I needed a private conversation with the doctor. They all laughed and I persisted to throw everyone out of the room. The doctor then prescribed some tests.
My next shock was not very far. As I walked into the test room to do the blood test the doctor had prescribed, I happened to meet a nurse who wanted to take the blood from the ear to see if the infection was severe: blood sample from ear to check infection of throat and ear, I was learning for the first time in more than 20 years.
I had to agree that the medicines worked. The best part was the humble and cordial way the doctors treated a foreigner with a sense of special care. That was then.
Even in those days I and my other Indian friends used to laugh about the scary ways of getting an injection in a Chinese hospital. We termed it as a style of giving injection to a horse in India. Many of my other friends had to endure this trauma due to complete health check-ups that were a must for foreign students at universities of Beijing.
Another strange feeling I got was when a friend of mine got infected by chicken pox, a disease lesser known in China. It was in 1996, and my friend had to be placed in a special infectious disease hospital of Beijing. No one was allowed to visit him and he had a telephone connected to talk to us. I still remember his loud cries when nurses gave him injections and forced him to take the medicines

Here is a list of some of the comments:

1-
“No courtesy of waiting for a patient to see the doctor in private.”
This is the problem of lack of manners in public; patients just budge in to see the doctor while you are having your check-up or consultation! Queue-jumping is a common phenomenon in China, not just in the fastfood restaurants but also in hospitals! And the Chinese generally don’t respect your privacy! Got to get used to it Geeta! When in Rome do as the Romans do!

2-
China’s medical care is so advanced; it is perhaps the only country where an IV is always given for even minor ailments like cough and cold. So patients sit around for hours to have the drip. Even advanced countries don’t give the drip except in serious cases! The hospitals must be making good money from giving the drips!

3-
Hospitals and clinics are over charging. That is the answer. Chinese medical care is in fact scary — too expensive if it is compared to the level iof income in the country.

4-
I have been Chinese hosipatal many times treatment(aculpuncture) for my pain. Needles are not disposible.Dirty bed sheets. Firstly I am very uncomfortable but my knee pain gone and thanks to friendly Traditional doctors. And the hosiptal charge a lot for the treatment .
Once I went to the famous and expensive dental clinic for my denture.Clinic is very clean. Doctor is friendly and I had to pay above ten thousand yuan for two teeth. Terrible treatment. Sometime he is using hammer like that I feel. I worried for my other teeth. In Malysia and my country, when I go and see the dentist, they touch the teeth very soft and very good treatment.

5-
The word “scientific” has no place in an article about Chinese medicine, unless it is prefixed with “un-“. My Fav
6-
I am a foreigner, sometimes working in China. I, too, am very uncomfortable about going to a Chinese hospital. I visited a student who had fallen and broken his legs and was hospitalized in Chongqing, a big modern city and not somewhere out in the rural areas.
To say the least, the hospital environment he was in was not up to medical standards – the bed sheets, the wall painting, the curtains, the litter along the corridors, the condition of the toilets, the equipment in the room, the not-so-clean uniforms on the nurses, and the ward in general, all point to neglect or sloppiness in care. That experience scarred my vision of being hospitalized.
Then a personal experience confirmed all my dread and fears. I had a very bad toothache. A friend brought me to a specialist dental hospital (the best she herself had been to before), a multi-storied building with specialist dental treatment of all kinds on each specialty floor.
I queued for service in a room where 6 dentists were working but only ONE nurse running around attending to the 6 doctors! I am used to one dentist, one nurse, one room!
My tooth had broken. My assigned dentist numbed my gums with an injection and then proceeded to drill out the broken bits, WITHOUT SUCTION OR IRRIGATION! Imagine all the gunk mixed with my saliva sloshing in my mouth and gurgling down my throat! Yuk! I was given a plastic cup of water to rinse after I signaled I was choking to death on my gunk.
There were several other patients waiting behind my chair, all curious spectators on my dental work.
There were several trays of dental equipment, one for each patient, laid out on the work table, some of which had already been used but not cleared away. I kept checking to ensure the equipment the dentist picked up to use on me was from my tray only – there’s no telling what I might get infected with if he had used another patient’s equipment.

2 Responses to “Indians Afraid of Chinese Hospitals-”

  1. gowron said

    I’m afraid of Chinese hospitals because my baby sister had to use them alot, and they don’t 1) Change the sheets, in the IV children’s room, 2) wash the bathroom (even the hall ways stank of ????, but heh it could be the drought is causing them to ration water ha ha ha). goobery people hucking out goo, while smoking, and getting medicen. 3) grimy halls 4) bacterium in the air causing the big chou chou smell.

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