The eye doctor became known after reporting the onset of the new coronavirus epidemic at Wuhan Central Hospital in late December.
He was one of eight doctors who posted alerts on social media about what was going on, which it earned him to be investigated by the police and forced into silence.
Li “died after efforts to resuscitate him. We deeply regret his passing,” reads a statement, published in the hospital’s official account on the Weibo website and reproduced by the South China Morning Post.
The 34-year-old doctor died at 2:58 am on Friday [hora local], revealed the Hospital.
Confirmation of Li Wenliang’s death came after hours of confusion. Announced by several average, Chinese and international, was later denied by the Hospital.
Li was in a “critical” state and survived on a ventilator, explained the denial, in which the hospital center regretted that the doctor had been infected with the same coronavirus to which he had warned other doctors.
Li’s heart had stopped at around 9:30 pm local Thursday, having been subjected to resuscitation attempts and placed under artificial respiration.
Anger and apology required
Li’s death is leading to a wave of commotion and anger on social media, with several internet users censoring the authorities’ conduct for the harassment of the doctor at the beginning of the epidemic.
In addition to posting candle images, many demand public apologies for the way Li was treated.
“No police have ever apologized to you. He could have been a national hero, but the negligence of some has cost him his life, as well as that of hundreds of innocents “, wrote a user of the Weibo network.
“Doctor Li’s reprimand will be a stain on Chinese history against the epidemic. Doctor Li warned the public at the cost of his own life. Wuhan’s squad has not yet removed its reprimand from publication, even after his death, “criticized another.
Chinese officials have been accused of trying to hide the epidemic in the city of Wuhan, which may have helped spread the virus.
The effort being demanded of healthcare professionals in Wuhan is also the target of criticism after the death of a young 28-year-old doctor due to exhaustion.
Forced to retract
Wenliang was one of the first doctors at Central Hospital in the capital of Hubei province to speak publicly about the epidemic.
The man himself told his story from his hospital bed, after being admitted.
On December 30 he commented on the case on Weibo, in a conversation group with classmates. Several patients were quarantined in the Hospital, due to a respiratory infection, with a coronavirus similar to SARS.
Li warned them to be careful and wear protective clothing to prevent infection.
Although it was published in a group, the alert quickly began to circulate on social networks.
On the same day, local health officials confirmed 27 cases of a new type of virus, all linked to a local seafood market.
This did not prevent Li and the other doctors from being forced to disdain themselves and to refer to the silence about the new disease.Four days after publishing the first message, Li was called to the Wuhan Public Security Office, where he had to sign a letter, in which he was accused of “making false comments” that “seriously disturbed the social order”.
Li Wenliang was then one of eight doctors investigated by the police for “spreading rumors” and publicly denounced by the Chinese Communist Party’s media.
In his Weibo publications, the doctor wrote that on January 3 he returned to work.
A week later, on January 10, he started coughing, the next day he had a fever and two days later he was admitted to the hospital.
“At the time, the government still insisted that there was no human-to-human transmission and said that no one in the medical teams had been infected. I was very confused,” wrote Li on January 31.
“My viral tests are still
negative, but I’m having trouble breathing, I can barely move.
My parents are also hospitalized “, he added.
On the same day, Li Weinliang published a photograph of the reprimand he was forced to sign on January 3.
“You are solemnly warned that if you insist on your statements and remain unrepentant and continue to pursue illegal activities, you will be punished by law,” reads the letter from the Wuhan police published by the South China Morning Post.
The day after these publications, Saturday, February 1, the doctor was diagnosed with the coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
The news of his death this Thursday sparked expressions of grief around the world, with WHO leaving a special message.
“We are sorry to hear of the loss of anyone working in the first line of care for patients,” reacted the director of the World Health Organization’s emergency program.
“We should celebrate your life and mourn with your colleagues,” added Michael Ryan, during a meeting.
Wuhan Communist Party officials apologized formally on February 6, for failure to provide timely treatment to coronavirus patients.