Doctor requires patients to take test before receiving treatment – China’s latest society and culture news

Society & Culture

A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for August 28, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.


“The doctor should first receive some medical treatments for his mental illness.”

“Such a waste of talent. A doctor like him should be a businessman or politician.”

These two comments are examples of criticism (in Chinese) directed at Zhang Yingdong 张英栋, head of the psoriasis division at Shanxi Hospital of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, who demands that his patients pass a written test based on his own books before being admitted for treatment.

The practice was condemned by Zhang’s patients. One patient who had been in the hospital several times told the Beijing Youth Daily (in Chinese), “Every time I wanted in-hospital treatment, I needed to retake the exam. And all questions on the exam are from Zhang’s books.” Another patient complained to the newspaper that he traveled a long way to see Zhang, in the hope of receiving proper treatment as soon as possible. However, he found himself targeted for the promotion of the doctor’s books — selling as a set of four for 130 yuan ($20) — and was told by the doctor that he should “first read Zhang’s books and pass the test.”

The newspaper confirmed with the doctor’s assistant that most of the patients seeking in-hospital treatment from Zhang were required to take the written test. And because Zhang was too busy seeing patients, exam questions were designed by other doctors, who were also responsible for giving scores.

In an interview with the newspaper, Zhang himself clarified that he never forced any patients to purchase his books, and that the exam was intended to help patients better understand his treatment. The doctor didn’t mention profits he gained from the practice, and said his fifth book would be out in two weeks.