A fifth doctor from Wuhan Central Hospital, where late Covid-19 whistle-blower doctor Li Wenliang worked, has died from the disease.
Hu Weifeng, a 42-year-old urologist, died on Tuesday morning after contracting the coronavirus four months ago, state news agency Xinhua reported. Hu is survived by his wife and two sons.Four other doctors from the hospital in Wuhan – the city where the deadly illness was first reported in December – have died from Covid-19.Li, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist who was silenced by police for sounding the alarm about the new virus, died from the disease in February, prompting an outpouring of grief and anger at the authorities in China, and calls for freedom of speech.
In early March, two of Li’s colleagues in ophthalmology, Mei Zhongming, 57, and Zhu Heping, 67, died after contracting the virus, and Jiang Xueqing, 55, head of thyroid and breast surgery, also died.
At least 69 medical staff at the hospital had tested positive for the virus by February 9, according to news site The Paper. This was put down to the medical workers not wearing protective equipment at the early stage of the outbreak, as the virus quickly spread across the city in January.
Hu was infected in the middle of January, but his symptoms were severe and his condition rapidly deteriorated, according to state broadcaster CCTV. In early February, doctors turned to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, a technique that provides life support for patients suffering respiratory and cardiac failure. He was removed from the machine in late March, and in mid-April he had recovered enough for his breathing tube to be removed and he was transferred out of intensive care, where he had been for nearly three months.
But on April 22, he suffered a brain haemorrhage. He underwent surgery and had been in a coma until he died, according to a senior doctor from the Sino-French New City Branch of Wuhan Tongji Hospital, where Hu was treated.