Chinese Hospitals & Doctors – 3 Examples of Why They’re Not up to Speed
Disclaimer: This post is based on a limited number of experiences. Yet such experiences would be extremely unlikely in the States. In China, they seem commonplace.
The Shanghai Daily had an article about expats and the Chinese medical system here from Tuesday. Put simply, this article suffers from a lack of perspective. While it states that hospitals and doctors are better in Shanghai than the rest of mainland China (a statement I do not doubt), it also tries to make the case that doctors throughout China are “excellent”, as stated here:
Local hospitals are considered by many expats as not up to the Western standards; they are often dingy and with older equipment. However, most physicians are competent, if not excellent, and many expats swear by their Chinese doctors.
3 Examples Showing Why Chinese Hospitals & Doctors are Not So Great
Most Chinese physicians are competent, if not excellent? Let me give you three personal experiences (my only experiences with Chinese doctors) that show that this may not be the case:
- After getting food poisoning caused by chicken my girlfriend brought back home from her hometown on a bus, the doctor, and two of his assistants, said it was likely caused by cooking ingredients, and could not get their heads around the notion that food poisoning is almost always caused by bad meat.
- When going to get my ears inspected, they used an ultrasonic, loud device to clean the inside of my ears, which was distinctly painful. In the States they used a warm water / ear cleaning solution that they squeezed into the ear for a similar situation.
- When going for a pregnancy test, the doctors tried to get us to do an ultrasound before doing a urine test.
Three times in a Chinese hospital. Three bad experiences. Not good odds.
To top this off, as most expats who have been in China for any significant length of time know, Chinese hospitals have two cure-alls for most illnesses:
- A constant IV
- A booster shot
Seriously. Why do you need an IV if you can eat yourself? It makes no sense whatsoever.
Sorry to the expat who wrote this article for the Shanghai Daily (Jenny Hammond), but the fear that expats have for Chinese hospitals is well founded: ask a number of expats who have been to Chinese hospitals to find out why. I am sure that you will find quite a few negative or even harrowing experiences among the lot. I, for one, do not know of a single expat who “swears by their doctor”.
Here is one bad (but not unusual) experience from an expat in Suzhou: Crisis in Suzhou: On Standby