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Heroism well explained by Chinese medical workers returning to work after recovering from infection

(People's Daily Online)    08:57, March 10, 2020

During the battle against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), some frontline medical workers, who exposed to great danger of the disease, unfortunately get infected. Doctors became patients, fighting on their personal battle against the disease.

Zhou Ning (first on left), Yuan Haitao (center), and Zou Jinjing (first on right)

However, as they recovered from it, some of them volunteered to go back again to the front line. After taking off the hospital gown as a patient, they put on the protective suit as a doctor again. They are heroes of our time.

After giving a 90-minute first aid to a patient, associate chief physician Zhou Ning of the cardiology department at the Wuhan-based Tongji Hospital affiliated to the Huazhong University of Science and Technology walked out of an operating room, saving another life after he recovered from the COVID-19 pneumonia and returned to work on Feb. 10.

“As a doctor, I must try my best to save the patients in severe and critical conditions, as many as possible,” Zhou explained to People’s Daily why he returned to the front line.

The doctor wasn’t expecting himself to fall down so quickly. According to him, he became symptomatic four days after receiving a patient suspected of infection on Jan. 17 and put himself into quarantine at home.By taking medicines and getting enough rest at home, Zhou gradually recovered. Besides, he made self-treatment tips out of his own experiences, and the tips soon went viral on social media.

“I believe that we will definitely defeat the virus as long as we unite as one and fight the epidemic in solidarity,” he wrote in the tips.

After quarantine, Zhou returned to work without any hesitation. “The hospital was concerned about my health, but we were short-handed as a designated hospital for receiving severely ill and critical patients,” he said, adding that saving lives comes above everything for doctors.

Yuan Haitao, director of the ICU department at the People’s Hospital of Dongxihu District, Wuhan, is another hero who has walked in harm’s way. On Feb. 21, the doctor who had been recovered from COVID-19 ended quarantine and went straight to his department from the quarantine wards on the 19th floor of the hospital. “I just wanted to apply my experiences to treating other patients,” he said. Yuan, 44, has been a doctor for nearly 20 years.

A cured novel coronavirus pneumonia patient bows to medical staff after being discharged from Huainan First People's Hospital, east China’s Anhui province, March 6. He is one of the last three patients discharged from the hospital. Photo by Chen Bin, People’s Daily Online

On Jan. 14, Yuan’s hospital received a novel coronavirus pneumonia patient who was critically ill and had to receive a trachea cannula before being transferred to an intensive care unit (ICU), which meant the viruses could easily come out of the patient’s airway and infect the operating doctors.

“I must take the odds,” Yuan reacted.

Unfortunately, his body temperature soared to 39 degrees Celsius the next day and he was hospitalized 3 days later. After half a month, the doctor was transferred to the ICU of Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital as his conditions worsened, where his wife signed a notice of critical status, dolefully.

Hu Ming, a close friend of Yuan and also the director of the ICU department of the Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital burst into tears after learning Yuan’s condition, and the scene was captured by the media and circulated online, which saddened many.

The good news is Yuan’s temperature gradually subsided, which got him bustling around again. Through phone calls and messages, he asked for check-up reports from his colleges, studied the conditions of the patient who he last treated before getting infected.

“I was still worrying about him,” Yuan noted. During the hospitalized days, he was always considering how he could improve the treatment plans for the patient based on how he recovered.

To Yuan’s comfort, the patient was later able to breathe without respirator. Yuan even celebrated the patient’s birthday with the latter’s family through a video call.

Zou Jinjing, chief physician from the respiratory and intensive care medicine department of Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, is now working again at the hospital after recovery from the COVID-19 pneumonia. The energy she shows in the wards barely indicates her previous infection.

Zou developed a fever and started coughing on Jan. 17, and was hospitalized after her infection was confirmed, which sadden her mother very much. Zou kept her infection a secret for her 10-year-old daughter until her condition alleviated in order not to make the child worry.

Over half a month later, Zou was tested negative for the novel coronavirus, and her CT image also suggested gradual recovery. After observation and quarantine, she immediately applied to her hospital for permission to work. On Feb. 24, the doctor finally restored her daily work routine – seeing the patients in the morning and joining telemedicine sessions in the afternoon.

Zou doesn’t consider her decision as heroic, as she believes it’s natural for people to rest when getting sick and resume work after recovery. Now she’s in higher morale, saying it’s her that needs the work, rather than the other way around. 

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

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