BEIJING – Seven people, six of them nurses, and one security officer, were stabbed to death Thursday in a hospital in northern China in the latest episode of violence in Chinese hospitals.
The man who carried out the attack was named Li Xiaolong, 27, has been detained and told police he had “a history of mental illness,” state news agency Xinhua said.
The suspect said he received treatment in Beijing and the nearby city of Tangshan in 2006.
In addition to the seven dead, another nurse was seriously injured during the early Thursday attack “In the women’s staff dormitory at the 281 Hospital in Beidaihe,” said in an online post.
Chinese hospitals have seen a series of violent attacks, but are more often carried out by angry patients rather than medical staff.
There is an alarming trend affecting the national health sector in which, according to the Chinese Hospital Association, 96 percent of workers suffered verbal violence in 2012 and 63 percent physical violence.
Over 70,000 disputes were recorded in Chinese hospitals last year, and at least 11 major incidents were reported in which a total of seven physicians were killed and 28 injured.
Motives behind most of the attacks are usually dissatisfaction over treatment or disagreements over bills as most Chinese do not have health insurance.
In April a 45-year-old man unhappy with his circumcision stabbed a doctor to death in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Three months earlier a man was sentenced to death for killing an ear, nose and throat specialist in neighbouring Zhejiang.
Doctors also acknowledge that such incidents stem from a lack of confidence in the underfunded health care system.
Previously, the Chinese government responded with new laws increasing penalties for those who attack, insults doctors or nurses publicly, or cause damage to the facilities.