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The overworked and underpaid

Popularity 11Viewed 5459 times 2014-7-29 16:16 |Personal category:Living|System category:Life| insurance, starting, problems, anything, friends

It's been a while since I contributed anything here not because I haven't wanted to but because of illness. I'm starting to feel a bit better lately and I really need to keep the old thinker active so I thought a bit of writing may take my mind off my problems. I had to return to Australia to undergo medical treatment because I didn't have medical insurance in China but I did have back home. Even though I'm back home amongst family and friends I'm a little homesick for Chengdu. Unfortunately I had to leave my partner and comrade behind with a promise to return in full health as soon as possible and that I intend to do. 

Having a major illness in China was an experience I won't soon forget. I have nothing but admiration for the doctors and nurses who work in the hospital I attended in Chengdu, the only hospital I can comment on, but I'm sure it would be similar all over China. It would be an understatement to say that they are overworked and I'm told underpaid. Certainly compared to the hospital system in Australia where doctors demand some sort of godlike status from their patients. I've never encountered a GP or specialist here who will charge the recommended government fee for consultations, always leaving you considerably out of pocket. The cynic would say they have to pay for the BMW and beach house somehow not to mention the golf club fees. An Australian doctor would be aghast at the thought of consulting with a patient in anything but a private office behind a closed door. But my experience in China was crowding into a doctor’s office with a half a dozen or more people who were I assumed, other anxious patients, trying to get the doctors attention while he was trying to explain to me and my partner the seriousness of the CT scan he was looking at. The noise and utter commotion going on in that room was, to an unsuspecting Laowai was something I'll never forget. Somehow the courageous doctor was able to convey the disturbing news to me with a little help with interpretation by my partner throughout the utter pandemonium that ensured in that small overcrowded consulting room.

I returned home with a thumping headache that had nothing to do with the serious illness that the good doctor had just informed me of and everything to do with the noise and organized chaos of the hospital that I'd just left. After the paracetamol took effect I had a heart to heart with my love and discussed the obstacles I would face if I was to undergo treatment in the Chinese hospital system. Apart from the obvious language barrier the cost would be prohibitive and considering that I had private health insurance in Australia we decided that it would be better for me to return home. It's been four months now and with another two months of treatment I hope to pick up where I left off, we had a lot of plans for this year that had to be postponed. 

So to all those dedicated, overworked and underpaid medical professionals who toil away and give their best to Chinese and Laowai alike while working under the most extreme conditions possible, I want to say thank you you are the best.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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  • A 700 year old love story. 2014-9-22 10:01

    Thanks for sharing your story here, we have highlighted your blog.

  • A 700 year old love story. 2014-9-22 09:28

    laoren1234: Yeh, can't stop to wonder what was their cause of death.
    Yes it does make one think, for both of them to die and to be buried together like that so long ago.

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