China Elevator Stories

Men Not Allowed To Enter

One day in mid-November 2013 my husband and I go to a women’s and children’s hospital in Shenzhen.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


We haven’t been to this hospital before. After having been sent to do a blood sample one time too often at another hospital, we have decided to change hospitals and this one was recommended by a coworker.

It’s time for the first ultrasound. On all the office doors there are signs saying men not allowed to enter. The doctor asks me if I’m taking folic acid and when I say yes, she sends me to do an ultrasound. I have to drink some water before doing the ultrasound and wait for my name to be announced. When they call me out, I walk into the room. There are two beds for doing ultrasounds and curtains which could theoretically be closed, but aren’t due to whatever reason. The employees doing the ultrasounds are not women, but actually men. This is the first time I see men perform ultrasounds on women.

I ask: “Can my husband come in too?”
The man performing the ultrasound says: “No, guys aren’t allowed to enter the room because of the other patients.”

There’s no other patient in the room and you could close the curtains, is what I think. Instead, I say: “But aren’t you guys too?”
He still wouldn’t allow it, and that was the end of the story.

On a side note: In public hospitals in China you don’t usually have as much privacy as you’d have in a Western hospital. When you see the doctor, there are often a whole bunch of other patients and their family members or friends in the same room, and everyone is listening in and commenting on everyone’s ailments.

Have you ever had to go to a hospital in China?

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