Is Mediation a Viable Dose for Medical Negligence Disputes in China? An Empirical Study of Medical Negligence Mediation in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen

Project: Research

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Medical negligence disputes become a real and ongoing threat to social stability and social cohesion in China. Improper resolution of medical negligence disputes causes the already frail physician-patient relationship worse in the country. Although litigation is always available to solve medical negligence cases, the Chinese victims of adverse medical events are reluctant to resort to it due to a number of reasons, mainly including low successful rate on the part of the plaintiff, low amount of awarded compensation, high cost in time and expenses, inconsistent and unpredictable judicial decisions. Patient victims are even more reluctant to rely on administrative authority to resolve disputes because they heavily doubt the neutrality of administrative authority given that more than 90 percent of hospitals in China are public and subsidized by the government. Instead, patient victims or their family members commit acts of duress, insult and violence against the alleged negligent health care providers for the purpose of recovering compensation, which is popularly called “hospital chaos making” (Yinao) in China. Since 2005 the hospital chaos making events have increased significantly in number cross the country and become a waking nightmare for the Chinese health care providers. Medical staff in some hospitals even wore helmet at work in order to protect themselves from physical attacks by hospital chaos makers. It is important and imminent to provide an effective alternative dispute resolution system to both patient victims and the alleged negligent health care providers so as to stop hospital chaos making and to prevent the physician-patient relationship from further deteriorating in China.In effect there are mainly three different types of ad hoc medical negligence mediation mechanisms operating in the current China. They are (a) people’s mediation of medical disputes, (b) medical mediation operated by insurance companies, and (c) medical mediation provided by domestic arbitration commission. But how these ad hoc medical negligence mediation mechanisms are running in reality and whether they are able to provide an effective dose to solve medical negligence disputes remain far from clear. This project will perform an empirical legal research into the three ad hoc medical negligence mediation mechanisms in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen to examine their effectiveness and to suggest improvements in resolving medical negligence disputes in China.


Project number9041999
Grant typeECS
Effective start/end date1/01/1412/06/18