Medical staff at an accident and emergency unit in southern China were subjected to a tirade of abuse when a dog owner arrived in the middle of the night demanding that they give his pet urgent treatment.
A clip of the incident posted on the Pear Video website quickly went viral and shows the man repeatedly tugging at the arm of a doctor at the hospital in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi region and demanding that he treat the golden retriever, which had cut its leg.
The doctor kept saying, “You can't do this, this is the emergency room, we have lots of patients here, you'll have to leave.”
According to a statement published on the official WeChat of the Guangxi Minzu Hospital, the man turned up in a black Mercedes-Benz at 4am on Sunday night when there were a number of patients waiting, including a man who had been bitten on the ear and one who had been hit over the head by a bicycle lock.
“The doctor stopped the man at once and asked him to take the pet dog outside … the doctor on call also explained to him this is not a vet’s and could not deal with an injured pet,” the statement read.
“The man became agitated and started tugging at the doctor's shirt to try to force him to treat his dog, took out a phone to film the incident and threatened that if the dog died, the doctor would be held responsible.”
The doctor explained repeatedly that the man needed to go to a vet and pointed to the human patients who needed treatment.
The man refused to listen, grew more agitated and suddenly knelt down and started crying. Hospital security then came to pull the man away.
However, he kept screaming that he would remember the doctor, adding that his surname was Zhao, and started kicking at the security doors.
Security staff eventually forced him to leave the hospital about 20 minutes after he arrived.
A nurse named Lu later told the Nanning Evening News that the dog’s injuries did not appear to be too serious.
“The golden retriever had a 6 to 7cm long wound on its left hind leg and wasn’t bleeding any more,” Lu said, “which means it won’t affect the dog’s normal activities or threaten its life, so we suggested that he go to a vet.”
The local police bureau confirmed on Monday that it was investigating the case. It announced on Tuesday that the man would be detained for 10 days.
The hospital condemned the incident and said it would continue to work with the authorities to ensure a safe environment for staff and patients.
Similar incidents have been reported in other Chinese hospitals. In February this year local media in Shandong province reported that an elderly man had taken his dog to a hospital in Taian, and told staff that the vet wanted to charge him 200 yuan (US$30) for treatment, but the hospital reception fee was only 9 yuan.
In the latest incident, it was not clear whether the man eventually found a vet to treat his golden retriever.