2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Accountable Doctor and Loyal Patient: Transformation of Doctor-Patient Relationship in the Republican Period

Sean Hsiang-lin Lei

Institute of History, National Tsing-hua University

The first aim of this work is to trace the emergence of the new doctor-patient relationship from the late 19th century to the Republican period. In the traditional Chinese society, doctors did not assume responsibility in treating the patients and tend to avoid difficult case.  In response, Chinese patients developed procedures and strategies in testing doctors’ capability.  Since the late Qing period, Western-style doctors introduced into China a new kind of idealized relationship between “accountable doctors and loyal patients,” thus re-defining doctors responsibility and patients’ trust upon them.  The second section re-frames this social history along the problematic of the historical struggle between practitioners of Chinese medicine and Western-trained doctors in the 1930s.  This historical struggle significantly patterned the doctor-patient relationship and exercised an enduring impact on the modern sick-role in China.


Keywords: Chinese Medicine, Doctor-Patient Relationship, Struggle between Chinese and Western medicine, Trust, Professional Responsibility