Don’t miss this excellent article

Don’t miss this excellent article by The Washington Post’s China correspondent John Pomfret on how SARS patients who don’t have enough cash are being tossed onto the street by China’s capitalist hospitals. Snippet:

Several days after Chen Jianchang checked into Guangzhou’s No. 8 Hospital with what appeared to be severe acute respiratory syndrome, officials ordered one of his roommates to check out. The man, who was also exhibiting symptoms of SARS, owed the hospital $250, said Chen’s daughter, Chen Lili, who was visiting her father at the time. “They made him pack up and go,” she said. “Who knows what happened to him? He had no money and he was sick.”

The SARS epidemic has hit China at a time of turmoil in its health care system. Once the pride of this nation, the country’s socialist health care system, with its “barefoot doctors” and free clinics, has collapsed. In its place has emerged a dog-eat-dog medical system that benefits the rich and generally hurts the poor, Chinese economists and public health researchers say.

The picture Pomfret paints is bleak, and you have to ask, If they are doing this to SARS patients, are they treating AIDS patients any differently?

He goes on to describe just how nasty things here can get:

The Chen family found that out. When Chen Jianchang, 78, died on Feb. 22, his body lay at the hospital for two days because the family owed the hospital $750 in medical fees, including charges for immune-system boosters and antiviral and steroid medications, which are widely used in China to treat SARS. “The hospital wouldn’t release him to us for cremation until we came up with money,” said his daughter, Chen Lili. “They just kept his corpse in a room, waiting for the cash.”

Pomfret also points out how the abuse of antibiotics in China (you can buy them at any 7/11-type shop) is messing up people’s immune systems here….
[Courtesy of SARSWATCH and a fellow blogger via email)

The Discussion: One Comment

Abundance, like want, ruins many.

April 19, 2005 @ 1:34 am | Comment

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