A team of Chinese surgeons, doctors and nurses has been sacked after posting a series of "selfie" photographs online following a successful seven-hour operation.
The pictures taken at the private Fengcheng Hospital in Xian were described as an insult to both the patient, who was being treated for a serious wound suffered at work, and the medical profession.
The hospital's director, deputy director, the head anaesthesiologist, the head nurse and all those who appeared in the photographs were sacked and fined three months' wages. They were made to write self-criticisms, Xian's bureau of public health said.
According to the Shanghai Daily, the photographs, taken in August, were leaked from a private WeChat messaging account by a woman who claimed she wanted to "make sure other doctors didn't behave in such a fashion".
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The posting of the photographs provoked uproar online, with comments such as: "Where is their ethics, integrity and accomplishment?"
China's doctors have been victims of multiple attacks by members of the public and do not have the same status in society as their Western colleagues.
The Chinese ministry of health estimated in 2010 that 17,243 attacks by disgruntled patients and families took place in hospitals - an increase of 7000 since 2005.
With little pay, inefficient bureaucracy and "high patient expectations" cited as reasons, 48 per cent of doctors rated their working conditions as "poor" or "very poor" in a 2011 survey by the Chinese Medical Association.
Staff told China Business View that the Xian team had been treating a 40-year-old man with a severe work injury and were commemorating the conclusion of "highly difficult" surgery without food, drink or bathroom visits.