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August 23, 2011

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Legal mediation team to settle medical disputes

LOCALS now have a new approach to resolve medical disputes, as the city has set up a mediation team affiliated with the Shanghai Justice Bureau, officials said yesterday.

Medical disputes are on the rise in the city, and thousands of such cases are reported every year. Some patients' families hire medical dispute agents, who pretend to be relatives and disrupt the hospital - sometimes even by beating doctors or damaging medical facilities - in efforts to get more compensation.

Shanghai police cracked down on 47 medical dispute profiteers between last October to March.

On January 15, 50 people carried a patient's body to the Songjiang District Central Hospital's hall and paralyzed traffic by putting up banners on the nearby road to complain about slow treatment. Police detained 12 people.

On March 10, police caught 31 people who parked a bus at the entrance to the Shanghai Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital and set up banners and distributed leaflets, which impeded other patients.

Police have set up a blacklist of 200 people including medical dispute agents, scalpers selling registration numbers at major hospitals and touts who lure people to small and even unlicensed facilities. Severe punishment will be imposed on those who have been caught multiple times, authorities said.

To better address medical disputes, the city launched the third-party mediation team to complement the current resolution to medical disputes that includes lawsuits, patient-hospital consultation and the public health bureau's mediation.

"People will have a new choice now," said Shang Zhongqiang, an official with the Shanghai Justice Bureau.

The service is free to patients, and the team consists of 100-plus members with judicial and medical expertise.


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