It’s already a heavy task for Xu Ziqiang to work as the director of the emergency department of the Chenzhou No. 1 People’s Hospital, central China’s Hunan province, but the man, who’s also a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), has undertaken an additional position during the COVID-19 epidemic – the head of the hospital’s expert team for COVID-19 response.
Recollecting the “war” that lasted more than three months, Xu said it was a tough battle for medical workers, but what was really important was to gain experience from the epidemic. He said only by filling the shortages and enhancing medical capability can they cope with similar situations in a calmer manner in the future.
This is also something he needs to study as a member of the CPPCC National Committee, he said.
Chenzhou locates in the southernmost part of Hunan and borders with south China’s Guangdong province, where SARS infections in 2003 were first identified. In that year, Xu participated in the battle against the SARS epidemic and was responsible for transferring fevered patients. Though no confirmed case was discovered in the city, Xu saw how dangerous the virus was.
This time, when Xu’s hospital was in urgent demand of emergency doctors, apart from rushing to the frontline himself, he also transferred his son, who’s also a doctor, to the department. His family worried about them, but he said that was the duty of doctors.
He hopes more doctors can step forward in the face of the emergency. “The novel coronavirus is an enemy of mankind. As medical staff, how can we defeat it if we don’t get close to it? It’s our duty bound to rush to the frontline.”
“Doctors should be brave and think more when major health crisis happens,” Xu said, who stressed the importance of medical workers’ own health conditions after seeing the news reports of doctors contracting COVID-19. He always reminded his colleagues to wear protective masks and suits according to relevant standards, and told them to disinfect their hands especially after seeing the patients.
Good health habits and healthy lifestyles are basic for preventing public health emergencies. Xu believes that as a member of the CPPCC National Committee, he should make contribution to improving the society’s capability of coping with public health crisis. Through cooperation with other doctors, Xu has applied for a research project to Chenzhou’s science bureau, aiming to carry out surveys at all public hospitals in the city to enhance prevention and control knowledge of new contagious diseases, upgrade relevant equipment and facilities, and improve conditions of operation rooms. Besides, the research project will also provide data reference and detailed suggestions for epidemic prevention and infrastructure enhancement.
Though it was dangerous to work on the frontline of SARS and COVID-19 control, Xu said he would have become a “deserter” if he ducked the responsibility of a doctor.
“I am a doctor, and it’s my due responsibility. As a member of the CPPCC National Committee, I must think further and deeper to prepare for future challenges,” he said.
Medical staff observe samples at a fever clinic in Jiahe county, Chenzhou, central China’s Hunan province, Feb. 15. Photo by Huang Chuntao/People’s Daily Online