China / Hot Issues

Man accused of killing doctor appears in court

By Wang Zhenghua in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-23 03:30

The man accused of killing a doctor and injuring two other medical workers in one of the most notorious attacks caused by a medical dispute stood trial on Wednesday on the charge of intentional homicide.

Lian Enqing, 33, is suspected of stabbing to death Wang Yunjie, 46, and severely wounding two other physicians at the First People's Hospital of Wenling in Zhejiang province in October. It is believed he was unhappy with a surgery done on his nose at the hospital.

The attack caused medical worker sit-ins at a number of hospitals in east China in the following weeks. They called for more care for doctors and an end to attacks. The crime and several other incidents had prompted China's top security body to urge a severe crackdown on crimes targeting medical staff.

Prosecutors claim Lian used a hammer and a knife during the attack at the hospital, the Intermediate People's Court of Taizhou said in a statement on Wednesday. The court has yet to announce a ruling.

During the hearing, Lian denied he was suffering from any mental disorders at the time, as the incident happened shortly after he was released from a rehab center for being paranoid.

"That's different from what I tried to defend him for," Lian's lawyer Zhu Shengyong said on Wednesday.

"I tried to convince the judges that the hospital's frivolous way of handling the dispute led to the crime, and my client was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the alleged crime," he added.

During visits prior to the hearing, Lian would become emotional whenever the Zhu mentioned his illness or the dispute with the hospital, though he always acted normally at other times, the lawyer said.

"Before the hearing opened, I told him to try to calm down in court, and he did not appear as emotional as I saw him before," Zhu said. He also said that he was uncertain if the court would hand down a death penalty, the harshest punishment for intentional homicide charge in China.

Police said that Lian was not a patient of Wang, the chief physician of the ear, nose and throat department, but underwent surgery at the hospital for rhinitis and other nasal problems in March 2012.

The man was unsatisfied with the results and filed multiple appeals demanding more surgery, but was declined after inspections by doctors from both the hospital and other medical institutions, who viewed the surgery as successful.

On the morning of Oct 25, Lian allegedly broke into Wang's consulting room, hit him on the head with a hammer, and stabbed him several times with a 30-cm knife.

During the conflict, another physician, Wang Weijie, 60, tried to subdue the suspect but ended up with severe injuries.

After trying but failing to attack the doctor who performed his surgery, Lian rushed downstairs where he allegedly stabbed Jiang Xiaoyong, a doctor who was working in the hospital's CT room.

The suspect was eventually subdued by security guards and patients.

The violence prompted medical workers at hospitals in Wenling and nearby regions to stage demonstrations in front of their institutions, and led to improved security at the First People's Hospital of Wenling.

Following the attack, the hospital added about 100 people armed with stab-proof vests and other tools to guard the hospital and set up an independent police service room.

But a doctor at the hospital's ear, nose and throat department said on Wednesday that the safety improvements did raise their sense of safety but does not tackle the fundamental problems that cause strained relationships between doctors and patients.

"Medical disputes are a universal problem across the country, and we don't have a specific solution," added the woman, who declined to be identified.

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