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Call my name, and I will always be there: the ultimate sacrifice of a frontline doctor

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    15:45, February 27, 2020

Editor’s note:

A lethal virus named COVID-19 has struck China. The authorities and the public have been working tirelessly to tackle it and made remarkable progress.

It is the efforts of many ordinary Chinese people - doctors, volunteers, police officers and government officials - that have stopped the virus from spreading further around the world and brought the epidemic under control. Their names must not be forgotten, and their stories will not go untold.

To remember those who have made great contributions to the fight against COVID-19, we have launched a new column named Heroes Fighting COVID-19. At a time when courage and love are needed more than ever, we will share heart-warming stories that focus on ordinary Chinese people who have devoted their lives to fighting the epidemic with bravery and selflessness. 

"The day that man allows true love to appear, those things which are well made will fall into confusion and will overturn everything we believe to be right and true.”

                                                                                                                                          —— Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

On a chilly morning on February 23, Xia Sisi, a 29-year-old doctor in Wuhan, took her last breath, leaving behind her 2-year-old son and beloved career. 40 days earlier, she had begun devoting herself to the fight against COVID-19, a lethal virus that has swept China and taken many lives.

(Photo provided by the family of Xia Sisi, source: Chutian Metropolitan Daily)

Call my name, I will always be there

Xia was the youngest doctor at the gastroenterology department of Xiehe Jiangbei Hospital in Wuhan, and was known for her kindness to patients, as well as her outstanding medical skills.

"'Call me if the patients need me, and I will always be there.' This was her pet phrase and motto. Whenever there was an emergency, Xia was always there. What’s more, she offered free treatment to the poor," said Qiu Haihua, Xia’s team leader.

(Photo provided by the family of Xia Sisi, source: Chutian Metropolitan Daily)

It was her great love for the patients that brought her back to the wards on January 14, when she heard that a 76-year-old patient, who apparently showed symptoms of COVID-19, needed medical care. Though he wasn’t her patient, she volunteered to stay with him, spending several sleepless nights in the hospital to come up with a treatment plan.

Thanks to her superb medical skills, the patient soon recovered. But Xia was then diagnosed with COVID-19 and confined to a special ward for treatment. During her stay in the hospital, she continued to send messages comforting her colleagues, insisting that she would return to her post as soon as she was cured.

Despite Xia’s positive attitude, she soon fell into a coma that lasted for over two weeks, and never woke up again.

Devastated family

Xia’s husband and parents are all medical professionals. Her whole family have cured countless patients, but were unable to save their beloved daughter and wife.

(Photo provided by the family of Xia Sisi, source: Chutian Metropolitan Daily)

“She didn’t even have time to say goodbye,” said Wu Shilei, Xia’s husband, “We made a vow to love each other forever, taking care of our parents and son, but the epidemic has changed everything.”

“Our son is still waiting for his mother to come back. Every time the telephone rings, the little boy runs to pick up the phone, hoping to hear his mother’s voice. We’ve been telling him that his mother is busy treating patients in the hospital,” said Wu.

“If I’m unlucky and die because of the virus, I hope you can be strong and take care of our parents and our son.” - Xia’s last words to her husband.

Eternal spirit

“Like all young women, Xia loved shopping with us, and dying her hair in fashionable colors…I just can’t believe she left us so quickly,” said Chen Changna, Xia’s colleague.

(Photo provided by the family of Xia Sisi, source: Chutian Metropolitan Daily)

Though Xia has departed, her office is still filled with her belongings. Flowers, letters and candles cover her desk, showing just how much her colleagues loved her.

“Like Xia, many of her colleagues are still fighting on the frontline against the virus. As doctors, we shall never retreat, and we will battle the virus with our lives,” said Qiu. 

(Photo provided by the family of Xia Sisi, source: Chutian Metropolitan Daily)

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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