by Xinhua writers Zhong Qun, Cao Bin and Liu Weiwei
NANJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- A number of recent cases of violence against medical staff have underscored this long-standing problem as authorities struggle to prevent tensions between patients and doctors.
On Wednesday, a doctor at Chaozhou Central Hospital in south China's Guangdong Province was forced into a public parade by the relatives of a patient whose life he failed to save.
There has been a slew of similar headline-making incidents in which patients threaten, humiliate or harm doctors.
Earlier this month, a couple who were both government officials were punished for beating and paralysing a nurse at the Nanjing Stomatological Hospital in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province.
In February, a doctor from northeast China's Heilongjiang Province was beaten to death by a patient with a blunt bar over unsatisfactory treatment.
DOCTORS VS PATIENTS
Conflicts between patients and medical staff have become so intense that measures must be taken to protect doctors and nurses, said Zheng Shan, who is a doctor at a Shanghai-based hospital.
Zheng's view is echoed by Zhou Yue, who works as a nurse in Nanjing.
"Some of us are considering quitting the job, as working in hospitals has become a high-risk profession these days," Zhou said.
While doctors are fretting over their troubled relationship with patients, the latter have long complained about the unpleasant experience of seeing doctors.
Chen Yu, who was standing in a long line to see a doctor in the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, said that patients like him usually have to queue for hours before having a consultation that lasts "no more than three minutes."