A patient in ICU of Huoshenshan Hospital, Wuhan and a medical worker give the thumbs-up to each other, April 2, 2020. Photo by Wang Haoyu, People’s Daily Online
A patient in ICU of Huoshenshan Hospital, Wuhan and a medical worker give the thumbs-up to each other, April 2, 2020. Photo by Wang Haoyu, People’s Daily Online

By Tian Doudou, Fan Haotian, Wu Jun

Wang Xin, an 87-year-old patient of the novel coronavirus who was pictured watching the sunset with his doctor in a viral image was discharged from the east campus of the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University on April 9.

“It was the caring and treatment by the medical staff that brought my father back to health,” said Wang’s daughter, bursting into tears.

The picture was taken a month ago on Wang’s way to take a CT scan with Liu Kai, a doctor with Zhongshan Hospital affiliated to Fudan University, Shanghai who went to Hubei for assistance. It later went viral and touched many as a glimpse of sunshine, something that had been long absent in the daily life of COVID-19 patients, was particularly valuable.

It is reported that over 3,600 COVID-19 patients aged above 80 in Hubei, once the epicenter of the outbreak in China, had been cured thanks to the joint efforts made by assisting medical teams from across the country and the medical workers in Wuhan.

It’s relatively more difficult and expensive to treat the senior patients, and it also calls for more medical resources, said an official with China’s National Health Commission (NHC). However, medical workers must take people’s lives and health as top priority and protect them wholeheartedly, the official added.

On the morning of April 12, deputy director Sui Shaoguang of the emergency department of the Second Hospital of Dalian Medical University received a video message from a woman surnamed Ding expressing her gratitude for Sui’s treatment for her mother.

“My mother eats and sleeps well, and looks great,” said Ding in the video in which her mother gives a thumb up to Sui.

Both Ding, 55 and her 98-year-old mother surnamed Hu contracted the novel coronavirus, and they were transferred to Wuhan’s makeshift hospital Leishenshan on Feb. 13.

“Hu has underlying health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease, and had a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius when hospitalized. She was in a critical condition then,” introduced Sui, who held a group consultation with 14 key doctors from emergency, cardiology, respiratory medicine and critical care medicine departments of three first-class hospitals at grade 3, the top level in China immediately after receiving Hu.

Wang Chen, academician and president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences was also invited to help treat the senior patients.

Under the joint efforts of the experts, Hu and Ding were both discharged from hospital on March 1. “To save those in need is our duty, and we will leave nobody behind,” Sui noted.

According to Jiao Yahui, a senior inspector with the NHC, over 90 percent of the senior patients in severe and critical conditions had underlying diseases, which posed serious challenges for the treatment.

In Hubei, patients with mild and severe symptoms are treated differently, and those aged above 65 are always hospitalized in hospitals with better facilities as most of them have underlying diseases. The recovery rate of severe and critical patients in Wuhan has been significantly improved thanks to the joint efforts and cooperation by the assisting force from across the country and local medics in the city. Nearly 70 percent of the patients aged above 80 in Wuhan have been cured.

Based on previous successful experiences, the therapeutic and treatment plans were further improved, and the remedies for patients in severe and critical conditions were further individualized.

As of April 16, seven centenarians in Wuhan had been cured, with the oldest one aged at 108.

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