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Suicide in Medical Doctors: A Review from Mainland China, 2008-2016

Author(s): Hui Min Jin, Li Li Guo

The purpose of this review is to summarize cases of Chinese doctors who have committed suicides between years 2008 and 2016. Moreover, we would like to appeal to the government and the public to increase their efforts to reduce death among Chinese doctors. We have reviewed public reports from local media, medical websites, official documents, and articles published in PubMed, Google Scholar, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and (a popular medical web in China) between years 2008 and 2016. Identified articles were published in either English or Chinese. A total of 51 cases (16 females and 35 males) of doctor suicides were reported or published between 2008 and 2016. Most incidents of death occurred between 20-59-year-olds, with a higher number observed within the 30-39 age group. Notably, the Jiangsu province had the highest number of reported doctor suicides (9 cases). Furthermore, detailed analysis revealed that the department of pediatrics (18%, 9/51) topped the number of suicidal rates when compared to the other hospital units. Suicides occurred more often in the full-service, tertiary hospitals, accounting for 63% (32/51) of the reports. Jumping from a building was the most common way of death recorded, accounting for 55% (28/51) of total cases. Suicide is not just a medical issue but also a social concern. A key to reducing deaths by suicide in Chinese doctors should be a commitment of both the Chinese government and medical organizations to establish and implement a coordinated plan of action.

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