Some people have been very grateful that they had traveler's or other health insurance prior to coming to China that provided for them to see the much more expensive, Western-trained doctors, or allowed them to leave China for treatments. Here are some of my experiences that reveal a few of the problems with the health care system in China.
The cases of needing to leave mainland China for a serious health problem or operation are I'm sure less common, but you can consider the risk vs. cost. Personally, I wouldn't let a Chinese doctor (practicing Western medicine) touch me if I weren't forced to (visa medical exam) or dying, but I'm a little more doctor phobic than most people. I'm also much more health conscious and observant of doctors and I've observed and taught English to doctors here. I've also taken several friends, both foreign and Chinese, to doctors here over the years. One horror story after another. A Boy Scout with First Aid training and a pocket knife would have done a better job.
For example, I took a girl who'd crashed her bike and hit her head, splitting her upper lip. It's a common injury that's pretty easily repaired by anyone with a little experience sewing. This was an unmarried girl in her early 20's and they let a new student do the sewing. It's fine to let people learn, but that's the wrong situation. It didn't look well at all, and no one examined her or inquired about her head injury.
Imagine walking into the emergency room of a prominent hospital in a major city complaining of crashing your bike and having a head injury, you have a big goose egg on your forehead, and no one even examines it or asks if you're dizzy. These "doctors" are mostly worthless, IMO.
I know I sound a bit extreme, but I think it's because I know how to give some treatments and can tell the difference between a person who cares about another's body and health and someone who does not.
Chinese docs of Western medicine generally only have about 3 minutes to examine a patient, and that is usually done with a patient in a chair, the doctor in a chair at a desk facing away from the patient, and the doctor basically using a chart in order to match symptoms gathered by his assistant to a few standard medicines that might work. Next!
You also have to understand the fundamental corruption in the Chinese medical system. The most clear example is that Chinese surgeons require that their patients give them a 20% or greater cash gratuity in a red envelope prior to the operation. If you don't do it, they will do something to make you regret it.
One of my American colleagues had a small cyst behind his shoulder and went to get it fixed, but I didn't know about it until afterward. We were playing basketball outside, he took off his shirt and I exclaimed, "WTF happened to your shoulder?" He said, "What do you mean? I just got a cyst removed." I'm not kidding here, it looked like a can opener had been used for the incision. There was so much scar tissue that it still looked like there was a small cyst. I asked him, "Did you give the doc some hong bao before the operation?" He said, "No, what's that?" I said, "You mean your Chinese friends who took you to the hospital didn't tell you about that?" He said, "No. What is it?" I told him about it.
Can you imagine what they would do if they were operating somewhere near your organ and they thought your gratuity was too small? I know local Chinese that have high moral standards who work in hospitals. They come home depressed and distraught just from what they see the doctors do to people who don't pay the hong bao (red envelope) gratuity.
I simply can not contemplate the revulsion of allowing a Chinese doctor to actually operate on me or anyone I care about. I'm sure some of them, somewhere, in some far away galaxy, might be conscientious enough to properly handle a human body, but I haven't observed it yet in any doctor. I've only seen one blind masseur in all these years who had any gentleness and skill, after trying lots of massages over the years from invitations by locals to accompany them. These doctors and masseurs wouldn't compare well next to a first day massage therapy student in the worst school in the USA. Probably sounds like I'm exaggerating, but I know this topic well.
But, if you like being touched as if you were a damaged car fender and the doctor were a talking hammer who knocked out dents because they had nothing better to do, not because they even enjoyed hitting things, then by all means...