China releases investigation report on issues concerning Dr. Li Wenliang

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 20, 2020
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China on Thursday released the report of an investigation conducted by the National Supervisory Commission into issues concerning doctor Li Wenliang.

Li, an ophthalmologist at the Central Hospital of Wuhan and a member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), was infected with the novel coronavirus at work and died on Feb. 7, 2020. He was 34.

The investigation team was formed on the same day Li died.

According to the report, in December 2019 several hospitals in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, received a certain number of patients with pneumonia of unknown cause.

On Dec. 30, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued internal documents ordering efforts to treat patients with pneumonia of unknown cause.

On the same day, soon after receiving information forwarded to him by a colleague, Li posted in one of his WeChat chat groups text messages including "seven SARS cases were confirmed at Huanan fruits and seafood market", a photo and a video clip.

He later sent more messages to the chat group: "According to the latest information, it is confirmed to be coronavirus infection. The type of the virus is being determined." "... Please alert your families to take precautions."

The messages, along with other similar information, led to public attention and discussions.

On Jan. 3, 2020, a local police station of the Wuhan Public Security Bureau summoned Li for a talk in line with the spirit of Wuhan's arrangements on preventing and controlling the epidemic of pneumonia of unknown cause.

During the talk, Li said it was wrong to send the SARS-related messages in a WeChat group.

A letter of police reprimand was issued to Li.

On Jan. 10, Li developed a fever. He was hospitalized on Jan. 12 at the ophthalmology ward of the Central Hospital of Wuhan before being transferred to the No. 3 ward zone of the hospital's respiratory and critical care department two days later. Li was transferred to the intensive care unit of the respiratory and critical care department on Jan. 23 and died on Feb. 7.

Li's attending doctors said the treatment for him was procedure-based and timely and the medical workers did their best.

Wuhan Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau has identified Li as a case of occupational injuries, for whom a workplace death subsidy and a funeral subsidy have been paid in accordance with regulations. Li's family has also received payment from a donated insurance scheme.

The investigators have suggested that local supervisory authorities look into the issuance of the reprimand letter to Li, which was inappropriate and failed to respect relevant law enforcement procedures, and urge police to revoke the letter and hold those responsible accountable and release the results in a timely manner.

The investigative team went to Wuhan on Feb. 8 to conduct a thorough probe. After the investigation, the basic facts have become clear, said an official in charge of the investigation.

The official said Li was not intended to disturb the public order by posting the messages in the WeChat group.

It should be noted that related departments and experts had yet to make a definitive diagnosis for the cases of pneumonia of unknown cause and had not accurately understood the epidemic at that time. Under such circumstances, Li forwarded the messages without verification. Part of the contents did not fully correspond with the reality, the official said.

The Central Hospital of Wuhan did not give Li any punishment. His license as a practicing doctor was not revoked, the official said.

For those who were found in the investigation to have been slow in their response to the epidemic, loose in their prevention and control measures and have failed to perform their duties, further investigations will be launched to hold them accountable, the official said.

Li forwarded and posted the related information in order to remind his classmates and colleagues to take precautions. The information he posted has been widely circulated, which has, in effect, helped draw a high degree of attention to the epidemic and facilitated the prevention and control, said the official.

Li was one of the health workers honored by the National Health Commission and other related authorities on March 4 for fighting COVID-19, which is an acknowledgment and commendation for his work, said the official.

The official added that some hostile forces, aiming to attack the CPC and the Chinese government, have given Li labels including an anti-establishment "champion" -- which is completely untrue.

Li, a Party member, was not an "anti-establishment figure," the official said.

Those hostile forces with ulterior motives, who tried to stir up trouble, delude people and instigate public emotions, are doomed to fail, the official added. 

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