Demolishing a hospital is a complex operation with many potential hazards. So you can imagine how hard it was for Huiji District to try to take one down while it still had all the doctors and patients inside.

The impromptu demolition began after months of contention between the Zhengzhou University’s Number Four Hospital and the local government of Huiji in Henan province. The area wanted to expand an adjacent road which encroached on the hospital’s morgue and CT room.

In order to widen their road, the government had asked the hospital to destroy these facilities itself months earlier. However, either as a subtle way to say “get bent” or because it simply never got the message, Number Four did not respond to the request.

So what did the government do? After weighing the value of a functioning hospital against an extra passing lane for the community, it went ahead and sent in the bulldozers on the morning of 7 January. According to AP, The Huiji District Government Information Office said they had ensured that no people were inside those buildings that morning so that no one would be harmed before they suddenly smashed their heavy machinery through the walls of a facility…which contained several people in weakened and delicate conditions.

Although some injuries were sustained by both patients and staff, everyone inside the building survived. However, six dead bodies which were being kept in the morgue where displaced and buried under rubble; an act which a hospital rep called “enormously disrespectful.”

Police are continuing to investigate whether this was a simple misunderstanding or battle of wills between the hospital and government. However, considering the country’s track-record for forced-demolition of properties in the way of economically stimulating projects, the latter seems likely. As of Sunday, one government official was fired for his involvement in the damaged hospital.

The total cost of the incident including damage to sophisticated equipment and lost revenue has been estimated at about 20 million yuan (US$3 million). It’s a price tag steep enough that the surviving members of government are probably fantasizing Number Four will throw their hands up and say, “To hell with it, just go ahead and widen the road already, you knuckleheads.”

It could happen—I mean, who doesn’t hate getting stuck behind a bus on the way home from work?

Source: Tencent News (Chinese), Toychan, Sputnik News (Japanese), AP, International Business Times (English)
Video/Images: YouTube/Bb Yang