March 1985

The Chinese Hospital: A Socialist Work Unit

Author Affiliations

Columbia, SC


by Gail E. Henderson and Myron S. Cohen, 183 pp, $22.50, New Haven, Conn, Yale University Press, 1984.

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(3):409. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360030041005

There is much information available about the Chinese health-care system, but the value of this short book is the large amount of specific information about one teaching hospital associated with a provincial medical college. It is surprising that the authors, a sociologist and a physician, were able to collect such a volume of detailed information during their five-month experience of living and working in the Second Attached Hospital of Hubei Provincial Medical College in Wuhan.

This book gives an accurate account of the hospital environment and the routine practice of medicine on an infectious disease ward. The description of the intense curiosity of the patients and their general lack of privacy provides the reader with an intimate view of daily ward life. It is also interesting to read of problems in the Chinese hospital that are common to institutions in the United States. The discussion of authority relationships in the