Wuhan Residents: China Left Coronavirus Patients to ‘Wait for Death’

Clerks wear face masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus as they wait for customers at the entrance to a restaurant in Beijing, Tuesday, April 28, 2020. The Chinese city of Wuhan, which was the original epicenter of the pandemic, again reported no new coronavirus cases or deaths …
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Some Wuhan residents admitted to state hospitals for coronavirus treatment have said they were left in prolonged isolation during their stay under torturous conditions, with at least one person allegedly committing suicide due to maltreatment, Bitter Winter, a human rights magazine, reported on Thursday.

According to the report, one Wuhan resident wrote an open letter criticizing the Chinese government after his coronavirus patient mother was left in agony from poor treatment at state hospitals and subsequently took her own life. The man says that his 75-year-old mother was assigned to an isolation unit at a Wuhan hospital after being diagnosed with coronavirus on February 9.

“I feel blindsided and cheated by the government,” the man wrote in his letter, blasting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “propaganda machine” that “promote[s] … news about its solid attempts to fight the epidemic, how the epidemic was put under control, and how many patients were treated, fully recovered, and were released from the hospital.”

He said his mother’s death proves the CCP coronavirus propaganda is a lie.

“During her isolation, no doctor treated her at all, and no one gave her injections, medicine, or other most basic care to prevent the deterioration of her condition,” the man wrote. The man’s mother told him that she was not the only coronavirus patient left unattended in the isolation ward.

According to her account, two older women assigned to her wing were “barely breathing” and “constantly soiled their beds,” but no one came to clean or check on them. Left along in such desperate conditions, the woman told her son that she “had no choice but to wait for her death.”

After a week in the isolation ward, the woman was transferred to Wuhan’s No. 3 Hospital, where doctors again failed to administer her any treatment. The man wrote that doctors did nothing more than take his mother’s temperature each day.

“On February 26, the hospital declared my mother cured of coronavirus, and she was transferred to a medical observation facility for 14 days,” the Wuhan resident says.

According to the man’s account, his mother was discharged from the observation facility on March 11 despite a persistent fever that had not yet abated. The woman had also been suffering from an “unbearable” stomach pain that her son says was still present when she was discharged. The woman’s family then took her to another local general hospital in the hopes of finding treatment elsewhere. However, doctors there refused to admit the woman, claiming her condition “did not meet hospitalization standards.” The man says the family tried other hospitals but were unsuccessful.

Without further recourse, the family took the woman home, despite her fever and “severe [stomach] pain.” At home without treatment, the woman grew desperate from her condition in the subsequent weeks. “My mother gave up all hope,” the man wrote in his letter. “On April 15, she ingested pesticide and killed herself.”

Several accounts of coronavirus patients facing “isolation without treatment” have been documented on Chinese social media in recent weeks and months, with some describing the isolation wards as “death camps.”

“The hospital repeatedly said they gave me the best treatment design, but in reality, they did nothing for me,” a 23-year-old university student from Wuhan wrote on her Weibo account (China’s version of Twitter) in March while in an isolation ward for coronavirus patients in Wuhan. The account was reportedly part of a suicide note, as the woman threatened to take her own life. “I’ll die in discontent!” she said.

In April, another Wuhan resident whose parent died after contracting coronavirus in a Wuhan hospital on February 1 blamed the local government for the death. The Wuhan coronavirus was first documented in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Before authorities had publicly admitted there was an epidemic in Wuhan, Zhang Lifa took his father to a Wuhan hospital in January for medical treatment unrelated to the virus. While admitted, the man contracted the virus and later died. Zhang says the authorities’ “lies and cover-ups” during Wuhan’s initial coronavirus outbreak late last year were directly responsible for his father’s death.

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