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Hospital staff held over death

08-08-2011 10:25 BJT

Mystery surrounds discovery of homeless patient's body in forest

BEIJING - Police have detained three hospital workers and two taxi drivers in Hebei province after a female patient was discovered dead in a secluded forest.

The victim, who has not been identified, was homeless and had received treatment shortly before death for injuries sustained in a hit-and-run accident, authorities said on Sunday.

Initial investigations indicate that staff at the Anguo Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital in Hebei province sent the woman by taxi to another county following basic treatment, as they did not want to give her a bed for the night.

A deputy hospital director identified as Zhang and two security guards were among five suspects detained on Aug 4, the provincial public security bureau revealed on Sunday on its micro blog at Sina Weibo.

Police are attempting to discover the woman's identity through television and newspaper appeals in Anguo, as well as neighboring Boye county, where the body was discovered, and other neighboring areas, said Dong Junyan, a spokeswoman for Boye's public security bureau.

According to official reports, the hospital dispatched an ambulance on the night of July 27 after it received a call from security bureau workers saying a homeless woman had been injured in a hit-and-run accident in front of a hotel.

Medics dressed wounds on her right leg, back and knees.

However, as the woman was alone and her injuries were not severe, Zhang, who was on duty that night, asked staff members to put her in a taxi and send her to Boye, China News Service reported.

Villagers wandering in a county wood discovered the woman's body on July 28.

A staff member who answered the hospital's emergency hotline on Sunday declined to comment when asked about the case and refused to provide the contact details of a spokesman.

Dong also declined to discuss possible reasons for the woman's death.

A news conference has been scheduled for Monday.

A Sina forum on the incident has so far attracted more than 5,000 netizens, some of whom expressed anger about the hospital's handling of the case.

"Except money, what else can the hospital see? Some doctors' hearts have been swallowed by dogs," posted netizen Tianxiake.

However, a netizen posting under the name Goodfoxcity2 argued that it is not realistic to rely on doctors or hospitals to do charitable work for every poor person they encounter, to their own financial cost.

Li Fangping, an attorney at Beijing Ruifeng Law Firm, said that based on the information available, he believed the hospital should take responsibility for the death.

"The hospital should have sent the homeless woman to a police station or one of the civil affairs department's rescue centers if they couldn't reach the patient's family," he said.


Editor:Yang Jie |Source: China Daily

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