Unreasonable anger over doctor Li's death harming frontline medical workers: colleagues

By Bai Yunyi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/10 20:26:59

A photo of Li Wenliang is among the flowers people sent to the Central Hospital of Wuhan on Saturday. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Donors' steering clear of a Wuhan hospital where virus 'whistleblower' doctor Li Wenliang worked has caused a shortage of supply at the hospital, adding to the difficulty in fighting the coronavirus battle for frontline workers. 

Many frontline medical workers at the Central Hospital of Wuhan, where doctor Li Wenliang worked, told the Global Times that now some private donors have said they will avoid the hospital and cross it off their list of donation recipients.

The situation has resulted in an extreme shortage of materials for medical workers at the hospital. Many doctors and nurses have to wear industrial masks instead of N95 respirators to ward off contagion. "I understand there are some angry sentiments now. But some remarks and action have caused physical and psychological damage to Li's colleagues and frontline medical workers," a frontline doctor, who refused to give his name, told the Global Times.

A doctor from the hospital said that the hospital has 500 beds for infected patients, but the name of the hospital appears on few donation lists. The doctor said that some donors said they won't send donations to his hospital, which makes many doctors there confused and upset. 

"Currently, doctors and nurses in ordinary isolated wards can only use industrial masks, no N95 respirators, because the latter go to ICUs. And many protective outfits are of a subpar standard. Some even use garbage bags as boot protection," said the doctor.

The hospital is among those designated hospitals in Wuhan where the situation is more serious in terms of medical personnel getting infected, the Global Times learned.

One doctor said that several department directors at the hospital have been infected, and more than 20 of his nearest colleagues have been infected.

He said that this is probably due to the lack of protection when the virus first broke out, and the lowered resistance to infection because of the continued, tiring work.

The hospital is also the hospital closest to the Huanan Seafood Market, where the virus first emerged, the doctor said, noting that now medical personnel from the surgical department, gynecology department and pediatrics department are working at frontline fever clinics and wards.

Another doctor at the Central Hospital told the Global Times that Li's colleagues have a heavy burden, and while they understand the current discussions and sentiment, the normal frontline medical personnel should not be held responsible for this incident.

The doctor said he hopes companies and warm-hearted people can think over this question again, because irrational invective and accusations are directly hurting Li's comrades and colleagues who are still fighting on the frontline.

"People should not express their sense of justice in this way. If the Central Hospital of Wuhan does not get protective supplies at all, it will be the patients and frontline medical personnel who will eventually get hurt. This 'action of justice' will only let more people become the next Li Wenliang," the doctor told the Global Times.

"We can overcome all the hardships physically, but we really don't want to be stigmatized for what we have done," he said.

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