Backlash in China after front-line doctor dies

Backlash in China after front-line doctor dies

3 June 2020 02:12 pm

The death of a front-line doctor in central China is provoking a backlash against the authorities' handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Hu Weifeng passed away on 2 June, after a four-month fight with Covid-19.

He made headlines in March, when his skin turned black "due to liver dysfunction" during his treatment.

The exact cause of his death has not been made public but the news has triggered an outpouring of anger on Chinese social media sites. Dr Hu Weifeng was an urologist, who was treating patients at the Wuhan Central Hospital - where Covid-19 was originally identified.

He tested positive for the virus in January, during the early stages of the Chinese outbreak, and was transferred to different hospitals for treatment the following two months.

His condition initially improved in mid-March; however, he then suffered cerebral haemorrhages in late April and May.

Dr Hu Weifeng, and a colleague, cardiologist Yi Fan, went viral in April 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 became known as "the two black-faced Wuhan doctors", and they won nationwide praise for fighting back against the virus, as both had been critically ill.

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

China Daily says that Dr Yi was only discharged on 6 May, whereas Dr Hu appeared never to recover.