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August 8, 2010

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Expo doctors show real heart

DESPITE the fact that they go to the World Expo every day, they have no time to visit pavilions. While thousands of people enjoy the different cultures and customs on display, the site's medical staff are busy working.

Fan Lei, a physician from Punan Hospital, serves in the clinic at the China Pavilion. Fan arrives at the Expo site before 8:30am and stays until 11pm, which means she isn't able to see her two-year-old daughter very often.

"When she woke up at night, she used to search for me, but now she wants my husband instead." Fan said, a sense of loss in her words.

Fan sees about 30 patients each day, usually for glycopenia, diarrhea, sunstroke, cuts or sprains. The high temperatures increase the chance of people getting heatstroke or fainting.

Although patient numbers are lower than at hospitals, Fan and her colleagues feel more tense. "We are on watch all day," said Fan. "We don't have a rest period."

Whenever a visitor feels sick, the 34-year-old physician rushes to the scene, carrying a heavy medical kit.

Working conditions aren't so great either. Since the clinic wasn't taken into consideration during the planning phase, it shares a room with a police station.

The clinic includes two chairs and one bed for patients, one medicine cabinet and one desk with two swivel chairs for the staff in the room that is about 10 square meters. In addition, every time the police handle a problem, it becomes rather noisy.

However, no one complains.

"Everyone makes every effort," Fan said. "It's a great honor to work here."

Fan is not the only doctor working long hours at the Expo.

Working at the only clinic in Zone C, Dr Sha Li and his team treat at least 200 patients every day, more than 50 percent of Expo patients.

Due to the hot weather, the 29-year-old surgeon is much busier than before. The clinic's two doctors handled nine patients, who were injured or had heatstroke, in about 15 minutes.

The doctors are highly skilled even though their services are free.

As a surgeon with six years of experience, Sha can handle most emergencies. "We are pleased with his work," said a visitor from Canada, whose niece was treated by Sha.

Still, the staff at clinics get annoyed with the uncivilized behavior of some patients.

Sha and his team only provide preliminary treatment due to equipment and medicine limitations. But some patients want more.

"A patient once asked us to give him drugs for three days," Sha said.

Instead of grumbling, Sha takes it in stride and said: "It's part of life."

Sha and his colleagues have high morale despite not getting an extra allowance, no bonus, no welfare and no entertainment.

"We offer our best services to help those in need," Sha said.


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