A doctor who tried to warn us all about the deadly spread of Covid-19 but his country failed him by not shutting his claims down. A few weeks later, he died of the same virus while serving the patients. His name was Dr. Li Wenliang and this is his story.
Dr. Li was an Ophthalmologist and in 2004, scored 609 marks in National College Entrance Examination and was admitted to Wuhan University of Medicine. Here he studied for 7 years and after working at Xiamen University for some time, in 2014, Li became an Ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital.
The story begins when on 30th December 2019 Li saw a patient’s report which had SARS positive on it. The report came from the Emergency Department of the hospital where doctors were worried about the patients showing the same SARS-like symptoms. The report contained the word: “SARS Coronavirus”. When Li got to know, he messaged in a private We Chat group with medical school friends saying, “ 7 confirmed cases of SARS reported from Huanan Seafood Market”. Later, he also confirmed that they were in fact Coronavirus cases. The screenshots of his chats were shared on many forums and the supervision Department asked to talk to him where he was accused of leaking information.
On 3rd January 2020, police from Wuhan Public Security Bureau investigated the case and gave him a warning, and lambasted him for “making false comments on the internet”. He was made to sign a letter of admonition where he swore he would not do it again. If he failed to learn from his admonition, he would be prosecuted. On 31st January, he published his harrowing experience in the police station and showed the letter of admonition.
Many were outraged as to why Dr. Li was silenced and why China did not listen to him when he tried to warn them and the whole world of a larger outbreak. On 7th January, Dr. Li contracted the Coronavirus while treating a patient and sadly passed away from his infection. Just recently, he had been officially exonerated by an investigation into his death. Chinese authorities and the police department in Wuhan apologized to his family. This incident makes you wonder if we had all the information from Dr. Li, could all of this be avoided at some level?
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