Backlash in China after front-line doctor Hu Weifeng dies

Backlash in China after front-line doctor Hu Weifeng dies
Hu Weifeng tested positive for Covid-19 in January. Source: CCTV
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Daily US Times: A front-line doctor in China had died, sparking a backlash against the authorities’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic. After a four-month fight with Covid-19, Dr Hu Weifeng passed away on 2 June.

He was featured in media outlets in March when his skin turned black “due to liver dysfunction” during his treatment.

Authorities did not reveal the exact cause of his death but the news has triggered an outpouring of anger on Chinese social media sites.

Who was Hu Weifeng?

Dr Hu Weifeng was an urologist, who was treating patients at the Wuhan Central Hospital – where Covid-19 was first identified last year.

In January, he tested positive for the virus. That time was the early stage of the Chinese outbreak. He was transferred to different hospitals for treatment the following two months.

In mid-March, his conditions partially improved, he then suffered cerebral haemorrhages in late April and May.

Dr Hu Weifeng has become the latest Wuhan doctor to die after contracting coronavirus. Source: BTV

In April, Dr Hu Weifeng, and a colleague, cardiologist Yi Fan, went viral after official media publicised their “tough battle against the virus”.

Users of the popular Sina Weibo microblog were stunned at the time to see that the pigmentation had changed in their faces, which media said “could be due to abnormal liver functions”.

The two doctors became known as “the two black-faced Wuhan doctors”. They won nationwide praise for fighting back against the virus, as both had been critically ill.

Weibo users sympathised with just how much they had to endure on the front-line and the Communist Youth League called them “angels who had fought with death”.

Social media users commented at the time on how their skin was a physical “scar” that they had to live with, after fighting on China’s front line.

Global Times newspaper among many other media have been noting that Dr Hu “worked in the same hospital as Li Wenliang”.

Dr Li first warned colleagues about the virulence of the virus back in late December and later became known as China’s “whistle-blower” doctor.

Dr Li Wenliang, A doctor who was among the many first to warn concerning the coronavirus outbreak, only to be silenced by the police, died in early February after himself becoming contaminated with the virus. Huge backlash sparked after his death also.

Dr Yi Fan’s skin also changed colour while he was ill. Source: BTV

The doctor’s death sparked national outrage in China, as it became clear that the authorities had tried to silence him by giving him a reprimand.

It is unclear whether the two doctors knew each other, as they both worked in different departments. There are reportedly more than 4,200 hospital employees at the Wuhan Central Hospital.