According to a report by the famous Chinese newspaper Jimu News, an internal training video of a hospital in Sichuan has recently gone viral on the internet. The content of the hospital’s training has been controversial because of statements like “how to get patients in line to pay us” and “how to make patients stay longer.”

On Sept. 9, the Medical and Health Commission of Luzhou City established a sub-group to investigate. Lei Wenjun, director of Luzhou Fukang Hospital, replied that this was an internal training for all staff held in mid-July. The original purpose was to raise a sense of service in the staff. Regarding the negative impact on society caused by the careless words, the hospital said that it will actively overcome and accept the supervision of relevant departments.

The Sina website pointed out that if it was a normal business, it would be normal to discuss how to get customers to buy more of its products in an internal marketing meeting, but when a hospital discusses how to make patients stay longer and pay in line to the hospital, in the presence of the director, doctors, and nurses, it probably made many people shudder.

Whether it is a public hospital or a private one, the relationship between a hospital and a patient should not be like one between a business and a customer. A hospital should not see the patient as a “milking cow,” that is, the medical services provided to the patient are based on how to make the patient “stay longer” and “pay more” rather than prioritizing recovery as soon as possible.

The newspaper also said that if some hospitals and doctors think first about how to make patients “stay longer and pay more,” it will definitely affect the choice of corresponding medical examination and treatment methods, and the ultimate beneficiary is not the patient. The newspaper also calls it “a rebellion against medical ethics.”

It is noteworthy that this is not the first time that Chinese hospitals have misplaced the roles of patients and doctors as customers and “businessmen.” For example, in December 2012, the People’s Hospital of Wuchuan City, Guangdong, hung a large banner to celebrate the number of inpatients exceeding 40,000.

In January 2022, a photo of Kanghua Hospital went viral on the internet. The photo showed the year-end review meeting held at the operating room of Kanghua Dongguan Hospital, with a banner saying “Welcome the year of the tiger, the operating room is clicking with plenty of money!” Kanghua Hospital later released a statement on its official WeChat account about inappropriate banners in the operating room. The hospital would seriously criticize and educate the (responsible) people involved and at the same time conduct a deeper investigation of the departments and individuals involved, and strictly handle them according to the hospital’s regulations.

Going back to the recent case of Fukang hospital, even though hospital staff also emphasized: “Our director’s meeting emphasized medical services and skills.” However, the report argues that when similar content appears on the meeting’s powerpoint, it means that the hospital treats medical services and skills as “available” goods, but forgets the oath doctors took when they graduated, and the hospital holding a “marketing meeting” is itself a violation.

This issue has attracted a lot of lively discussion from domestic and foreign netizens.

Someone said: “For profit, they can do anything.”

Another sarcastically said: “First solve the ‘where the patients come from’ problem, then let them stay as long as possible and queue to pay us. As long as the patients do not die, we can make money!”

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