A woman from Shanghai who slapped a nurse who was treating her husband has been given nine days' detention and fined 500 yuan (S$100), according to local media.
The nurse, surnamed Wang, was suctioning phlegm from the patient at a hospital in the city's Huangpu district on February 16 when he began to cough and splutter, Kankanews.com reported on Monday.
The man's wife, identified only as Zhang, was apparently upset by this and complained to Wang. The nurse said it was normal for patients to cough and vomit when receiving the treatment, but Zhang was unconvinced and attacked Wang, slapping her several times in the face, the report said.
The hospital called the police and Zhang was arrested.
In a video shown on the website, she said: "The hospital had cared for us all along. When the events happened, it was down to me being too emotionally charged.
"Hitting hospital staff should not be allowed under any circumstances. I am also an intellectual, I understand … this event caused a negative influence on society and it is definitely not okay."
"Being an intellectual does not equal having moral character," read a comment on Weibo, China's Twitter-like service.
Violence against doctors and nurses is common in China. The public has a general distrust of the medical system and people frequently complain about long waiting times and expensive treatments.
According to a 2017 study of 2,400 workers at 12 children's hospitals, nearly 70 per cent said they had experienced workplace violence within the past year, mostly from patients' family members.
In 2015, a doctor in south China's Guangdong province was stabbed to death by a patient.
A year earlier, two doctors in the provinces of Heilongjiang and Hebei were attacked by patients dissatisfied with the outcome of their medical treatment.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.