It's almost non-existent in today's China. Okay, that might be a little too exaggerated, but it really isn't too far from the truth. You might wonder what sparked me to write about something like this, I'll let you know, just keep reading.
For common tourists, this may not seem so common since they would typically only tour top tourist destinations, have made prior travel arrangements, and avoided most unpleasant situations. But if you stay in China for long periods of time, like me, you will undoubtly encounter many "unpleasant" situations. The problem with China today, is that there's way too many people. When it comes down to it, like everyone else, you're just another digit (1) out of the 1,313,973,713 (1.3+ billion) other Chinese people. In a country where human rights is still a contentious issue, ethics and morals are often left in the back of people's minds.
Well, here's the story. After reading it, you can judge for yourself as to what low levels of ethics China has reached. Before I begin, I should mention that this is related to birth, which is a wonderful thing, but this has been turned in to a cash making process by the Chinese hospitals. Also, you should know that natural birth in China costs around $2000 yuan, more or less depending on the city, and a cesarean section (c section) costs twice as much.
The entire ordeal involves my older cousin Sammi, who's a few months older than me. Fortunately, she had a successful natural birth last october. However, the hospital experience was less than pleasant.
She checked in to the hospital on the day of her expecting date, and this is how the whole thing went. For the entire duration of her stay in the hospital (20+ hours), not one doctor made a visit or check up on her - only a nurse, who could careless about the patient's wellbeing. I haven't been in a birth room yet (will be soon! :)), and don't quite know how the whole thing goes, but I'm pretty sure that at least one doctor should check up on the patient at least once... But not in this situation. 20+ hours, and not even a visit from a doctor.
Chinese Hospitals Wants Forced Cesarean Section
The reason is simple, MONEY. After waiting 20 some hours in the hospital, Sammi's contractions were becoming more frequent. Basically, she was ready to give birth. Yet, there was still no doctor in sight. My aunt and my mom asked "where are the doctors? 20 some hours, and not even a visit from a doctor". The response they got from the nurse was this: "We nurse decide when the time is right to give birth, and that's when we'll call the doctor".
Well, that can pretty much be interpreted as "whenever you decide to sign the papers for a C section, we'll get the doctor for you".
Basically, what they do is drag out the birth process as long as possible, and make the patient suffer as much as possible, until they can't take it anymore, but have no choice to sign papers for a C section. Afterall it is a difference of $2000yuan compared to $4000yuan. Sick people.
They will do WHATEVER they can, to convince (if not almost force) you to opt for the C section birth. In this case, they dragged it out for over 20 hours without sending a doctor; they told my cousin that the baby was in an awkward position, so it will be a problematic natural birth (lies); they said it's not time for birth yet, even tho contractions were very, very frequent; all at the same time, trying to push my cousin to sign the waiver to have a C section.
Eventually, my mom got infuriated by the entire situation, and exploded at the nurse and hospital employees. She yelled at them, and the jest of it: We place the lives of two people in your hands. As doctors and nurses, your duty is to care for the patients, where is your sense of duty, caring and compassion? Not one doctor visit after 20 some hours of pain."
In the end, she blatantly yelled at them "If you want more money, just say it!" Seriously, these people will rot in @%#$.
Seeing this, they quickly called for a doctor, and very soon after, a quick, simple, and successful natural birth took place.
Where Has the Ethics Gone?
You may think this may be an isolated incident, and that it's a rare occurrence, but it's not. It's a common malpractice all over China today, which seems to have caught on during the past 2 years or so.
Another lady was giving birth to twins sharing the same room with my cousin. The first child was born by natural means successfully, and for the second child (which came one day later), the hospital pulled the same ruthless tactics, and force the lady to have a C section, even though she had a successful natural birth for the 1st child.
I'm probably not far off by saying that 8 or 9 out of 10 women that give birth in China today are coaxed into having C sections. First of all, the one child per family policy is still strictly enforced all over China, so many people never consider having a second child. Second, a C section is probably less painful than giving natural birth. Also, hospitals will drag the birth process as long as they can, and finally, they will do whatever they can to force the patient to opt for the C section.
Corruptions runs rampant in almost every facet of Chinese society, from top down. The chain of command from bottom up is corrupt, and unethical. $2000yuan for natural birth, and $4000yuan for a C section may seem very cheap to westerners where giving birth can cost thousands, up to hundreds of thousands, but $2000yuan is a considerable amount of money in China. Performing a C section will earn the hospital twice as much.
At year end, bonuses are given to nurses and doctors for the financial performance of the hospital. Something's not quite right here. They don't reward doctor/patient performance, but instead financial performance of the hospital. That's pathetic. MONEY. What more incentive do they need? Ethics and morals sure the heck worth a lot in China these days. You can almost quantified it to worth about $2000 yuan in this situation...
This problem is not only related to hospitals, but extends to almost every facet of life in China. Poor business ethics, poor social ethics, and poor individual ethics is a part of everyday life in China. Everywhere you go, you have to be wary of people. Examples of these are everywhere:
- Take a taxi in another city, you're likely to get ripped off
- If you're a foreigner, you will get ripped off
- Buying fresh produce and fruit from street vendors, you're likely to get ripped off
- Line up in bus stations, train station, restaurants, or whereever there might be a lineup, someone will likely cut in front of you
- People will spit and hork everywhere and anywhere
- This list can go on for pages...
Like my accountant says "doing business in China, you have to count your fingers after you shake hands with someone."
This, is the darker side of China.
Of course, not everyone is like that. I hope I haven't turned anyone off from wanting to travel to China. It's a great to to travel to and tour - lots to see, lots to do, and lots to eat.
On a brighter note, our family has began Chinese new year celebrations already. The entire family gathers everyday now for dinner and mahjong. :) Chinese new year will be on Feburary 18th this year, and I'm going to be buying plenty of fireworks again! I'll post photos of those when I buy some.