Wuhan Doctor on the Front Lines: 'Fear to the First Degree'
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Wang Weici, MD, a vascular surgeon - one of the physicians at the front lines - who is now using her education to fight the ongoing coronavirus outbreak spreading worldwide. She left for training on January 27 to learn how to treat patients with COVID-19. She started her 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM night shifts on February 1.

She has not had a day off or been home since. Her twin boys and little girl are at home with her husband. She was going to miss her twin boys' second birthday. She wanted to get home by February 17, but with Wuhan, China ― the epicenter of the worldwide coronavirus outbreak ― under lockdown since January 23 and Wang unable to come home because of her work, there were no candles, no cake, and no Mom.

She works at Wuhan Union Hospital West Campus, which has been transformed into a designated center for the disease. The training included workshops on diagnosing and treating the virus, using respirators, putting on and taking off protective gear, how to enter and exit isolation units, and how to prepare documents to enter the "cabin" with coronavirus patients.

The night before she first began work, Wang's mother had a high fever, one of the most common symptoms of the disease. If her mother were infected with coronavirus, it would be likely that her family would also become infected. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 — can likely survive for an extended amount of time on some surfaces, and families under the same roof share a lot of surfaces. Fortunately, her mother was okay after taking fever-reducing medicine, and her family is healthy.

The danger of contracting the virus while trying to help is very real. Taxi drivers and food delivery workers have contracted the disease while shuttling people to hospitals and getting meals to doors. Even some of the workers who built the new hospitals in record time caught the virus in the construction process.

"I felt fear to the first degree," Wang said. "What if I became infected? What would I do?"
Her 7-year-old daughter and 2-year-old sons have no idea about the risks she faces. In a poem to Wang on her twins' birthdays, her husband wrote that the kids think Mom is just at work like usual and will be back soon.

About 42,000 medical workers have been sent to Wuhan over the course of the epidemic to aid in coronavirus relief, according to the Wall Street Journal, but even those numbers haven't been able to relieve the front line doctors' workloads.

But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan for the first time. According to the National Health Commission, on Monday only 19 new infections were reported in mainland China, down to 40 the day earlier.

One of the photos shows a birthday cake Wang's 7-year-old daughter made for her brothers. She drew a giant, colorful cake towering behind her, her brothers, and her dad. Behind a snowman holding heart balloons, the banner reads: "Stay strong Mom, you're the best. We've been good kids.... Stay safe and come back to our sides."

Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/926598
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