Renmin Chinese Law Review
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Renmin Chinese Law Review

Selected Papers of The Jurist (法学家), Volume 3

Edited by Jichun Shi

Renmin Chinese Law Review, Volume 3 is the third work in a series of annual volumes on contemporary Chinese law, which bring together the work of recognized scholars from China, offering a window on current legal research in China. This book reflects the study of Chinese law and the reality of Chinese legality and society. Chapters address the developments of the Committee of Politics and Law of CPC, the new challenges China faces in anti-terrorism, the emerging P2P lending in China and the legislation of virtual property inheritance.
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Chapter 9: On the law and trust in doctor–patient disputes

Wu Dezhi


Law has insuperable functional limitations when it deals with doctor–patient disputes. Due to the high asymmetry of information and knowledge between doctor and patient, and risk and damage being difficult externalize in medical malpractice, using law is not only a difficult way to prevent but also to resolve doctor–patient disputes. Medical fault liability tends toward rigidness in practical operation, which will lead to the excessive deterrence of doctors from causing any medical fault. We can summarize law’s dealings with doctor–patient disputes as a ‘Control Pattern’. But a ‘Trust Pattern’ can prevent doctor–patient disputes more efficiently via lower informational costs and particular moral emotional traits. Communication is the most important method of building doctor–patient trust, but the information that it conveys mainly concerns moral emotion, rather than medicine. Because of the subconscious nature of trust and the high costs of supervision, law is not only unable to enforce the trust between doctor and patient, but it is also difficult to use law to enforce communication full of human caring. The method of strengthening efficient communication to establish doctor–patient trust is through a form of non-price competition. In order to establish efficient competition among medical institutions, we should set up a market simulation system supported and limited by government.

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