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Foolish to call for doctors to work themselves to death

Chinadaily / Photo: VCG FANG PEIHU, a 31-year-old doctor from Lu’an city, East China’s Anhui province, died from overwork on Dec 16. Yet, one month later, the local medical authorities called for all medical staff to learn from his example. Beijing News comments:

Many doctors in Lu’an and other cities have openly expressed their anger at the suggestion they learn from Fang’s example, saying they hope to carry on living rather than working themselves to death.

Fang is not the only doctor who has died from overwork recently. Also in December, a 43-year-old doctor in North China’s Shanxi province died after working nonstop for 18 hours and on Jan 23, a 43-year-old emergency doctor in Xining, Qinghai province, died after also working nonstop for 18 hours.

These tragedies show that many doctors are overworked. There are many reasons for this, one of which is lack of medical professionals, which means doctors have to work long hours.

Many medical officials stress that doctors should demonstrate a spirit of self-sacrifice. However, the fact is that doctors are human, too, and they also suffer from health problems when working too many hours.

By calling for doctors to follow Fang’s example, the medical officials of Lu’an probably meant to pay tribute to the doctor who died in his office, but it is ridiculous for them to call for other doctors to learn from his example because the only way for them to do so is to die while working.

In a healthy society, doctors help ordinary people to stay healthy, but such help should not be rendered at the cost of the doctors’ own health. We hope the medical authorities at all levels will learn from that incident and avoid making similar foolish remarks in the future.

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