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Psychiatric patients ‘abandoned’ at Dongguan bus station

Posted: 09/13/2013 7:00 am

Seven female patients from a psychiatric hospital in Zhuhai were abandoned at Dongguan’s Nancheng bus Station for 25 hours early this week, Nanfang Daily reports. A representative of Baiyun Psychiatric Hospital said nurses left the patients there by mistake but the patients, who were wandering around the bus station in their dressing gowns, have claimed otherwise.

Surveillance camera footage shows that at 2 p.m Monday, seven people entered the station unescorted.

While they were there, the patients didn’t harm anybody but drew much attention until police intervened. When hungry, they would eat out of dustbins or even grab food from passers-by. When tired, they would sleep on the floor.

Nurses from the hospital told them they had been discharged, drove them to the bus station, and told them they would be picked up there.

After Dongguan police traced the women back to Baiyun Psychiatric Hospital, the hospital checked its records and found no discharge procedures for them.

The two nurses who sent them to Nancheng Bus Station, Wang Ni and Fan Hong, said they thought they had lost the patients, but did not report the matter to the police.

This is the latest example of how difficult it is for China to care for its mentally ill.

The Atlantic had this to say in a recent report:

Statistics released by China’s National Center for Mental Health showed that as of the year of 2009, 100 million Chinese suffered from mental health problems with more than 160 million citizens afflicted with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and paranoid psychosis. Such figures indicate that one in every 13 Chinese in 2009 had a mental health problem.

If this Daily Mail report is anything to go by, it is not unheard of for Chinese cities to sweep their mentally ill under the carpet.

  • Michael de Waal-Montgomery

    Very sad indeed.

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