In an interview with the BBC, Dr. Peter Storbeck, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, said the trend had begun to pick up again following the Ebola pandemic, which saw the number of new cases in China increase from around 500,000 to 1.3 million.
Chinese doctors had not seen such a large spike in cases since the mid-1980s, he said.
“We’re seeing a shift,” Dr. Storbert said.
That trend, he added, was partly due to the fact that the Chinese government was cracking down on people who were practicing medicine without proper credentials.
“There’s a great deal of pressure on doctors to stay away from things that they may be uncomfortable with, especially when you’re in a society where the medical profession is still viewed as something that is in the hands of a few,” Dr .
In addition to being reluctant to disclose a patient’s medical history, Chinese hospitals are also not allowing doctors to treat patients for minor ailments like headaches and fevers, Dr .
Storbeck said, which is likely to be a factor in the increased cases.
Doctors can still prescribe medications, but Dr. Siegel said that patients who had severe injuries were often forced to get their care at home.
“This is a situation where they’ve had to rely on other people to help them, and they’re not sure what to do,” Dr Siegel told the BBC.
In some cases, doctors have even taken on the job of providing personal care for the patients, like helping to care for a severely injured patient and cleaning their room.
While some hospitals have had to change their policies, Dr Storbs told the ABC, some doctors have continued to treat the patients as they always had, and said that hospitals are simply trying to find a way to pay their bills.