Medics in Wuhan brave hardships to treat patients infested with novel coronavirus

EYEAFRICA TV: Wuhan City, Hubei Province, central China: Despite frustration, stress and exhaustion, doctors and nurses have stuck to their posts in Wuhan of central China’s Hubei Province, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Ten days ago, Wuhan No. 5 Hospital received about 1,700 patients with fever, a record high since the hospital was established 97 years ago. After being designated as one of the first batch of hospitals specializing in treating patients with fever, one typical symptom of pneumonia caused by the new virus, the hospital has seen a massive influx of patients.

“What happened in our hospital may well be compared to a ‘Spring Festival travel rush.’ It’s the first time I’ve ever seen such scene since I started working here 20 years ago,” said Zhong Jiali, a head nurse of the reception desk at Wuhan No. 5 Hospital.

“There are crowds of people pouring in with no end. We could not account the number but later we got to know it. Our doctors were busy handling each patient and barely had time to raise their heads,” said Wu Xiangpin, a head nurse of the hospital’s emergency department.

Nurses found that many patients only showed symptoms of common cold, so they told those only ran a low fever but without cough or chronic diseases to leave and take a rest at home, but no one would listen.

The hospital’s capacity was stretched to limits. The six-bed emergency ward was packed with 12 beds. A doctor has to handle over 100 patients a day. One of the doctors even worked for 12 hours a day without drinking or eating.

“The workload increased enormously than usual, not just double or triple. but 10 times as much. One patient suffered breathing failure and needs emergency treatment and another one also had breathing difficulty, and had to be rescued. You can image how stressful it is,” said Wu.

All the medical staff were extremely exhausted after days’ fully loaded work but no one asked for leave at that critical moment.

A nurse whose mother fainted and was just out of life-threatening danger chose to return to her post after arranging her treatment on Jan. 24, the start of China’s lunar new year holiday.

“We work over 10 hours every day. My father asked whether I was afraid in a phone call. He told me not to be afraid because I stand with all the Chinese people in the fight. He said an honest person cannot recede or be a deserter because all the people are facing up to the epidemic and I’m not alone in this fight. My farther told me never to retreat, ” said Liu Han, a nurse of the hospital’s reception desk.

Over 900 medical staff at the hospital have been fighting against the virus on the front line. By the end of Saturday, the hospital had received over 10,000 patients with fever.

As medical teams kept arriving in support of the city’s fight against the epidemic and a hierarchical medical system was introduced, the hospital has resumed its normal work pattern.

At the hospital, there is a statue of Norman Bethune, the Canadian doctor who treated injured Chinese soldiers during the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. Bethune’s first stop in China was the predecessor of Wuhan No. 5 Hospital where he performed surgeries for seven days in a row to rescue injured Chinese soldiers and civilians.

Chinese health authorities on Monday said that so far, 17,205 confirmed cases of the viral pneumonia have been reported in the country, and 361 died of the disease as of the end of Sunday.

In Hubei Province, a total of 9,074 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the virus had been reported by the end of Saturday, with 215 having been discharged, 294 dead and 8,565 receiving isolation treatment in designated medical institutions.

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