Five nurses from a private hospital in Kunming, Yunnan province, who allegedly assaulted a mentally ill patient in January, were accused of intentional injury on Wednesday by local prosecutors.
The five nurses - four males and one female between 20 and 26 years old - at Daguan Hospital in Kunming's Xishan district stood on trial in Xishan People's District Court. The verdict will be released later.
On Jan 29, a woman surnamed Chen sent her mentally ill father, Li, to the psychiatry department of the hospital for rehabilitation.
As the five nurses were conducting a physical exam on Li as he lay on a bed, Li kicked a male nurse, surnamed Mei, who immediately retaliated and struck the patient, the Xishan district procuratorate said.
Surveillance video from the psychiatric ward posted by local media show four nurses holding Li's legs as a male nurse jumps on the bed and kicks the patient, including kicks to his head.
The nurses then covered the video camera, and two of them beat the patient again, the procuratorate said.
The victim's daughter, Chen, told Kunming-based Chuncheng Evening News that she had no idea about the violence when she visited her father that night. Chen is a reporter for the newspaper, according to the hospital's legal consultant, Li Yongjiao, and others. Chen contributed to the initial news reporting of the assault with false information, Li said, adding that false reports have been removed from the internet.
When Chen found her father's face was swollen and he told her he felt a tightness in his chest, the nurses told her it was caused accidentally in treatment. But she then asked to see the surveillance video, after which she reported the incident to the police, the newspaper said.
A prosecutor dealing with the case, who wished to remain anonymous, said that two of the five nurses did not have medical qualification certificates, and the procuratorate informed health authorities of the situation.
Bao Cuili, office director of the hospital, told China Daily that immediately after the incident, the hospital and police tried to negotiate a settlement with Chen to avoid going to court. In that process, Chen initially asked for a compensation of 500,000 yuan ($73,100), but the five nurses could only offer 150,000 yuan, Bao said.
"The family members of the victim hit the suspects, who are all from rural areas with low family incomes. The nurses knelt down for three hours to apologize, but Chen still wanted the money and said if it wasn't paid she would go to court."
Chen took the matter to prosecutors in March.
The hospital dismissed the five nurses soon after the incident and will strengthen its training and management of staff, Bao said.
Contact the writers at firstname.lastname@example.org