Chinese doctor collapsed from exhaustion amid China's Covid surge

No time for rest.

Keyla Supharta | December 23, 2022, 11:12 AM

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A Chinese male doctor collapsed from exhaustion amid the Covid surge in the country.

The moment, captured by CCTV, was shared on Chinese social media before it was reposted on YouTube by The Telegraph.

Collapsed and slumped on his chair

In the video, the doctor was seen tending to a queue of patients at a busy hospital.

He could be seen closing his eyes to rest in between patients, before waking himself up to look at his computer, presumably to prepare for the next patient.

However, he collapsed and slumped on his chair shortly after, prompting his patients to call out to another doctor for help.

His colleague then approached the collapsed doctor with a cup in her hand, and attempted to make him drink from the cup but was unable to do so.

His colleagues eventually lifted him out of his seat to allow him to rest.

Fear of Covid surge with ease of restrictions

Doctors across the country had expressed concerns when news of the government loosening Covid restrictions emerged on Dec. 7.

A doctor at Shanghai's Sixth People's Hospital told Financial Times (FT) that he was concerned about healthcare professionals potentially facing a surging number of Covid patients when they are already overworked, and barely able to maintain normal operations.

A person at one of the fever clinics said it was overwhelmed with patients while understaffed with doctors, despite everyone already working 24 hours straight.

Just as they feared, the number of Covid cases increased since China eased its zero-Covid policy.

The National Health Commission of China (NHC) recorded an increase in confirmed cases from 354,017 on Dec. 7 to 389,306 on Dec. 21.

Staff still working despite having tested positive for Covid

Due to staff shortage, Chinese doctors and nurses were made to work even when they were infected with Covid, The Guardian reported.

Some hospitals in Beijing even have up to 80 per cent of their staff infected, but many were unable to take leave as Covid cases continue to rise.

A Sichuan doctor surnamed Li told Reuters that "a few nurses at the fever clinic were tested positive, [but] there aren’t any special protective measures for hospital staff". He believed that many of his coworkers would get infected soon. 

Medical student working at hospital passed away after being made to work for days

A 23-year-old graduate medical student named Chen Jiahui had apparently collapsed on Dec. 13 after being made to work despite having tested positive for Covid for many days, according to rumours on the internet reported by Aboluowang, a Chinese-language news site with an anti-Chinese Communist Party bias.

Sichuan University Huaxi Hospital, where Chen was working at, attempted to dispel news of his death on Dec. 14, saying that Chen was "still undergoing emergency treatment".

However, they later confirmed the news of his passing on Dec. 15, claiming that he had passed away at 10:08pm on Dec. 14 after rescue attempts failed.

Unverified rumours by social media users claimed that although Chen had already died, the hospital put up a show by pretending to save him despite the futility of their actions.

"Control measures were not stopping the disease"

“There’s a little narrative at the moment that China lifted the restrictions and all of a sudden the disease is out of control,” Michael Ryan, the executive director of World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Programme, said at a news conference on Dec. 18.

“The disease was spreading intensively because I believe the control measures in themselves were not stopping the disease. And I believe Chinese authorities decided strategically that was not the best option anymore".

Meanwhile, China recently announced its official toll of Covid deaths will only include those who died from respiratory failure or pneumonia caused by the virus.

Top image via The Telegraph/YouTube