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Legal Mediation Expands in Shanghai, China

Tuesday, August, 30, 2011

The Shanghai Justice Bureau has established a legal mediation team intended to help local residents settle disputes with doctors and hospitals.   The availability of medical malpractice mediation should help bring the rule of law to the settlement of medical disputes.  Thousands such cases are reported each year in the city of Shanghai; traditional methods of dealing with the disputes include hiring agents who commit various crimes in pursuit of compensation.  These crimes can approach the level of vigilante justice, with agents sometimes damaging medical equipment, disrupting hospital practices, and even assaulting doctors.


Just this year, Songjiang District Central Hospital was negatively affected when 50 people brought a patient's body into its main hall to protest slow access to treatment.  Protestors also obstructed a road near the hospital, preventing others from reaching the facility.  Based on this serious threat to public health, the police detained a dozen individuals.


Legal Mediation Poised to Provide Better Alternative


The new legal mediation service will be available to patients free of charge in the hopes that large numbers of them will stop turning to dispute agents.  "People will have a new choice now," commented Shang Zhongqiang, an official who works with the Shanghai Justice Bureau.

The mediation team will have more than 100 members, each with either judicial or medical expertise.