xi's moments

Double jeopardy of doctors being too many hours

China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-17 07:29

"FINALLY, the operations are over." A doctor in Huaian, East China's Jiangsu province, shared this sentence on her social network app WeChat having worked continuously for 26 hours. Fawan.com comments:

Within 26 hours, the doctor had carried out 26 gynecological operations. As the photos she shared on social media show, she had been standing for so long that her feet had swollen and she could not wear her shoes.

She deserves praise and respect for her dedication. However, the workload she faces is already too heavy for any normal human being to bear. Working for 26 successive hours could do irreparable harm to a person's health, even cause death.

Besides, such a heavy workload for doctors can also be risky for their patients. Medical operations require skill, experience, and concentration; tiredness could result in a doctor making a mistake.

However, many doctors commonly work extra hours. According to a white paper issued by the Chinese Medical Doctor Association, doctors in Class A hospitals work 51.05 hours on average a week, and those in Class B hospitals 51.13 hours a week on average. Both are much higher than the standard of 40 hours. The paper also shows that less than 25 percent of the doctors enjoyed their legal annual leave.

It is urgent to change this situation. If a majority of doctors face a work overload, then not only is their own health at risk so too is the health of their patients.

To remedy this situation, at least two measures should be taken. First, the Labor Law must be more strictly implemented, so as to prevent doctors from working too many hours. Second, medical majors in colleges should be enlarged so there is more medical talent for the nation. Only with ample medical staff will the situation improve.

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