Li Wenliang (Chinese: 李文亮; pinyin: Lǐ Wénliàng; 12 October 1986 – 7 February 2020) was a Chinese ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, considered the first person to try to warn the public about the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, on 30 December 2019. On 3 January 2020, Wuhan police summoned him and admonished him for "making false comment on the Internet." Li died from coronavirus infection on 7 February 2020.
1 Life and career
4 See also
6 External links
Life and career
Li Wenliang, born in Beizhen, Liaoning, studied clinical medicine at Wuhan University for 7 years, where he acquired his M.Med. degree. After his graduation, he worked in Xiamen, Fujian, China for 3 years before he returned to Wuhan and worked as an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central hospital.
On 30 December 2019, Li saw a patient's report which showed a positive result with a high confidence level for SARS coronavirus tests. At 17:43, he said in a WeChat group of his medical school classmates, "There were 7 confirmed cases of SARS at Huanan Seafood Market." He also posted the report and a patient's CT scan result. At 18:42, he added, "the latest news is, it has been confirmed that they are coronavirus infections, but the exact virus to be subtyped." He also explained what a coronavirus is with the message.
His words in the WeChat group were posted on the Internet without hiding his name. The medical superintendents of his hospital soon came to him and had a talk. On 3 January, Zhangnan Street Police Station of the Wuhan Public Security Bureau, Wuchang Branch warned and lectured Li for "making false comment on the Internet". The police officers there asked him to sign on an exhortation letter.
On 8 January, he was infected with the coronavirus when he saw a patient infected with coronavirus at the hospital. He started having a fever and cough on 10 January, which soon became severe. On 12 January, he was taken to an ICU where he was quarantined and given treatment. Due to lack of test kits for the new virus, his diagnosis of the viral infection was not made until 1 February. Many of his colleagues and family members were also infected with the virus.
He was under the spotlight of the Chinese public and media for he is considered as one of 8 "rumormongers" warned by Wuhan police. However, according to some media, Wuhan police summoned 8 "rumormongers" on 1 January, while Li and Xie Linka, a doctor from the Wuhan Union Hospital, were warned on 3 January, which means that the two persons might not be one of the 8 "rumormongers."
China's Supreme People's Court said that in retrospect, the eight Wuhan citizens should not have been punished as what they said is not entirely false.
"It might have been a fortunate thing if the public had believed the 'rumors' then and started to wear masks and carry out sanitization measures, and avoid the wild animal market," the top court's social media account said on the 4th of February.
Li told Caixin that he had been worried the hospital would punish him for "spreading rumors" but felt relieved after the top court publicly criticized the police. "I think there should be more than one voice in a healthy society, and I don't approve of using public power for excessive interference," said Li.
On 6 February, Chinese state media reported the doctor died at the age of 34. According to China Newsweek (中國新聞周刊) news report, his heartbeat stopped at 21:30, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was used on his body. A rescue attempt was apparently made in vain. According to several sources, including Li's colleagues, an ECMO was used to maintain his life 3 hours after his heartbeat stopped.
The World Health Organization posted on Twitter saying that it is "saddened by the passing of Dr Li Wenliang," after Li's death.
However, hours later, Wuhan Central Hospital, the facility treating Li, reported the doctor was in fact still alive, albeit critically ill, directly contradicting the reports of state media. In response, earlier reports and articles maintaining that Li had died were deleted by the Chinese news outlets who had published them. Wuhan Central Hospital subsequently confirmed that Li had died, and gave his time of death as 02:58 on 7 February 2020.
Carlo Urbani, doctor who was the first to warn about severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and died of the disease in 2003
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