Mr Wang recovering from his operation. From China DailyIf you were searching for evidence that medical paternalism exists in China, search no more. It appears that China, or at least in Shenyang Hunnan Xinqu Hospital, the gentlemen in white coats do know what is best for you. Absolutely.
What demonstrates this beyond dispute is the experience of Mr Wang, a young man who was eagerly awaiting the birth of his first child in a hospital waiting room. Suddenly a doctor beckoned him to follow, surely, thought Mr Wang, to stand at the bedside of his wife after her Caesarean.
Alas, no. He entered an operating room and was told to drop his trousers. This was not what a father-to-be expects on the birth of his child, so, like legions upon legion of patients down through the ages, he asked, “Why?”
And, as he recalls, “'They said: "Just do what we tell you". Like legions of doctors down through the ages.
The trouserless Mr Wang was then placed on the operating table and the doctors proceded to remove his haemorrhoids. After administering anaesthetic, of course.
“I really never knew I had haemorrhoids,” the 29-year-old said. “When I was on the operating table I heard a baby crying and I was very happy, and I wanted to hold it. But I couldn't move because I started to feel pain.”
The hospital has offered 5000 Yuan as compensation (US$750) for the mistake.
The death of Ivo Pitanguy in Rio this week was the intersection of bioethics and the Olympics. The world’s best-known cosmetic surgeon and a celebrity in his native Brazil, he carried the Olympic flame on the day before he died of a heart attack at the age of 93.
A member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, Pitanguy thought deeply about his specialty. “My operations are not just for my patients’ bodies. They are for their souls,” he wrote. He regarded beauty as a human right and he made cosmetic surgery as popular among the poor as among glittering celebrities.
However, his poetic vision of his specialty clashes with the scepticism of some bioethicists. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, in the UK, is currently conducting an inquiry into cosmetic procedures, in response to concerns that patients are being victimized and that the industry is sustained by sexist stereotypes. Its discussion paper is particularly interesting. We hope to cover this area in more depth in the future.
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BioEdge: Medical paternalism lives on in China