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February 10, 2020

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Shanghai medics on frontline battling virus

EDITOR’S note:

MANY Shanghai medical workers are in or on their way to Wuhan, a city now severely stricken by the novel coronavirus outbreak. They are called “the most beautiful people who are going in the reverse direction than most others” by the public. The medical workers are on the frontline combating the epidemic out of sense of humanity for the good of the country. Some of them shared their Wuhan experiences with us.

It’s a special Lantern Festival over the weekend for all those Shanghai medics working at hospitals in Wuhan, the heart of the current coronavirus epidemic.

Chinese traditionally get together with their families during Lantern Festival, eat yuanxiao — dumplings of glutinous rice with a variety of fillings — and look at the full moon.

But for these medics, there are no family dinners and no time to enjoy the full moon or watch the Lantern Festival Gala on television.

Ruan Zhengshang is a doctor from Xinhua Hospital and one of the first sent to Wuhan. He is in charge of an intensive care unit with 27 critical patients.

Though hundreds of miles from his family, he received a special gift from them — a letter from his daughter Ruan Renying.

“Dear Dad, I can still recall the sight of you back when you left us on the Chinese New Year’s Eve. Now you have been in Wuhan for nearly half a month. How are you doing? We are all good in Shanghai,” the girl wrote.

“When you are in Wuhan, I miss you and worry about you. But I’m very proud of you. Please protect yourself when you treat the patients. Although I miss you so much, I think the people in Wuhan need you and the other medics more than me. I believe all of you can win this fight and cure those in pain.

“Dad, in my mind, you are a hero who is never afraid of any difficulty and frustration and uses righteous ardor to kill the virus. I made up my mind that I will become a doctor in the future, just like you and grandpa, to help those struggling with disease.”

Gu Lingyao, a male nurse from Shanghai Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine and also part of the first medic group, received a letter from his mother.

“Dear son, I still remember on Chinese New Year’s Eve, you got a phone call at the dinner table and told us that you must go to Wuhan to support the medics there. Your dad and I were both shocked and I couldn’t come to my senses until you left home,” she said.

“Although we are very worried about you, we know that if you make the decision, no one can stop you. Your dad consoled me by saying what you’re doing is a good thing and asked me not to weep and bother you.”

Supportive but worried

“You are always a warm-hearted one and value friendship. I know you are worrying about your schoolmates,” Gu’s mother continued. “Six years ago, you were enrolled at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology and had been living in Wuhan for four years. Except for Shanghai, Wuhan is the city where you have lived the longest. There you have many close friends.

“I’ll take care of myself and your dad. Please send us messages every day via WeChat. But what you say are things like ‘I’m good’ or ‘The weather is fine today.’ We saw some online news about the medical workers there. The news said the medics are living a hard life. They can’t drink much water because if they use the rest room, they will ‘waste’ a set of protective outfit, which is in short supply. Your dad is one who doesn’t show much on his face, but on that day I saw him weeping in the kitchen.”

The gift Zha Qiongfang, a doctor from Renji Hospital, received is a series of paintings by her 6-year-old niece, nicknamed You You.

The paintings feature Zha, her auntie, working at the hospital in Wuhan. She also gave tips for epidemic prevention through the pictures. The little girl asked her auntie to take care of herself and come back safely.

Nurse Li Panpan, also from Renji Hospital, received encouragements from her parents as well. Her father’s patriotic appeal made her determined to go to Wuhan on the day before Chinese New Year’s Eve.

“Although a parent can’t help but be concerned in a situation like this, it’s the toughest moment for our country and if you and your colleagues go to Wuhan, you will bring the people there hope of life.”


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