Review Article

Overwork Death of Chinese Physicians under High-Intensity Pressure, 2007-2018


Background: To summarize the cases of physicians overwork death between Jan 2007 and Dec 2018, the tragedy merits the attention of the authorities and policy-makers to increase their efforts to reduce death among physicians in China.

Methods: Data were extracted from medical databases, local mass media, official documents and medical Bulletin Board System (BBS), in which only included articles, reports and news listed in the retrieval strategy, and unpublished data were excluded.

Results: Overall, 110 cases (7 females and 103 males) were enrolled in this study. Most incidents have occurred since 2012, especially in 2017. Of these, 86 (78.18%) physicians worked in public tertiary hospitals, four times more than the number of cases taking place in secondary hospitals. Additionally, overwork death was the most common in surgery-related departments that account for up to 65 (59.1%). Notably, these events, taking place in first-tier cities and the southeastern coastal areas of China, included 27 chief physicians, 31 associate of chief physicians, 21 attending physicians, 10 resident physicians and 4 standardized training physicians.

Conclusion: Overwork death among Chinese physicians is not only a contemporary health problem but also a critical social issue. The laws and regulations should be perfected to prevent the events. Meanwhile, the public should be aware of the need for more understanding and trust in physicians in China.

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IssueVol 49 No 12 (2020) QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
Overwork death Physician death China

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Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
XU Y, CHEN G, HAN X, GAO X. Overwork Death of Chinese Physicians under High-Intensity Pressure, 2007-2018. Iran J Public Health. 2020;49(12):2251-2255.