Bringing business discipline to health care: Black Ambulances.
In April 2012, Liu Jing, owner of a privately run ambulance, was sentenced to pay compensation of 180,000 yuan ($28,900) for contributing to the death of a patient who underwent a heart surgery in Wuhan. Liu locked the door of the ambulance and turned off the air-conditioner when having a dispute with the patient's relatives, which has accelerated the death of the patient, the court said.
There have been numerous cases reported, including some in which patients were detoured hundreds of kilometers away to ill-equipped private clinics and lost precious time for treatment.
In fairness, these things are illegal. But they are apparently an irresistable proposition in an environment where ambulances are charged for like taxis and where individual hospitals and clinics compete for patients.
Black Ambulances are cheaper than the legit versions, but 'cheaper' to the value of Ryanair: any medical treatments in transit are charged for as 'extras'. And how's this for a conflict of interest:
If the patient dies on the way of transporting, then extra fees apply again. "We transport the living, not the dead. We normally charge thousands of yuan if the patient dies on the way," Zhou said.