Dr Ai Fen is the director of the emergency department of Wuhan City Central Hospital. On the afternoon of March 2nd, Ai Fen was interviewed by China’s version of “People” magazine. The interview was published on the internet, then censored by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but not before several persons had a chance to copy the article.
Translated from the original Chinese, we have reproduced below only a small portion of the interview, with corresponding documents (and additional information marked with ). These documents verify that 1.) the virus most likely did originate at the seafood market, and is not the product of a lab incident; Dr. Ai Fen did not “disappear” as had been reported; Dr. Li Wenliang was not “silenced” by authorities, but died as a result of the infection.
“Last December 16th, our Nanjing Road Hospital Emergency Department received a patient. He had an inexplicably high fever, the medication was not working, body temperature does not move. On the 22nd, he was transferred to the Department of Respiratory Medicine, where they performed a fiberoptic bronchoscope to take the alveolar lavage fluid. This was sent outside for high-throughput sequencing. Later, it was reported orally as a coronavirus. At that time, the colleague in that department yelled in my ear several times: Director Ai, that person reported the coronavirus. Later we learned that the patient was working in South China Seafood.”
“On December 27, another patient came from the Nanjing Road Campus, a nephew of a doctor in our department. He was in his 40s and had no underlying diseases. The lungs were in a mess. The blood oxygen saturation was only 90%. He has been in treatment for almost 10 days and there has been no improvement. The patient was moved to the respiratory care unit. The fiber bronchoscope was also taken and the alveolar lavage fluid was taken for testing.”
“At noon on December 30, my classmates working in the Tongji Hospital sent me a screenshot of the WeChat dialogue. The screenshot reads: “Don’t go to South China recently, there are many people with high fever …”. He asked me if it was true.
Yes. At the time, I was looking at the CT of a very typical patient with lung infection on the computer. I passed the 11-second video of the CT recording to him and told him that it was a patient who came to our emergency department in the morning and was also in South China Seafood market.”
“Just after 4 pm [Dec. 30], my colleague showed me a report that read: SARS coronavirus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and 46 kinds of oral / respiratory colonization bacteria. I have read the report many times.”
Ai Fen stated many times her fears in the article, “I was scared out of cold sweat, this is a terrible thing.” “The director of the respiratory department of our hospital happened to pass by my door. He was a person who had participated in SARS [research]. I caught him and said, “We have a patient who was received in your department and they found this.” He said at a glance that it was troublesome. I knew it was troublesome.”
“I immediately called the report to the Department of Public Health and Hospital Sense Department of the hospital. I also sent this report to my classmates, specially drawn a red circle on the words “SARS coronavirus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 46 oral / respiratory colonization bacteria” for the purpose of It is to remind him to pay attention to it. I also sent the report to the group of department doctors to remind everyone to take precautions.”
“The main idea was about unexplained pneumonia. Don’t publish it at random to avoid panic caused by the masses. If the panic is caused by information leakage, you should be held accountable.”
Among those doctors who sent WeChat messages, including the copy of the report, was Dr. Li Wenliang. As a result of those messages sent on December 30, he and seven other colleagues were arrested on December 31, 2019 for spreading “fake news”.
On January 2, Dr. Ai Fen suffered an unprecedented and very severe rebuke. “As the director of the emergency department of Wuhan Central Hospital, you are a professional. How can you create rumours?
“I am a person who is serious and diligent at work. I feel that everything I do is done in accordance with the rules and it makes sense. What have I done wrong? I saw this report, and I also reported it to the hospital. My classmates and I communicated with each other about the situation of a certain patient, without revealing any personal information of the patient, which is equivalent to discussing a medical case between medical students. As a clinical doctor, you already know that a very important virus has been found in patients. If other doctors ask, how can you not say it? This is your instinct to be a doctor, right? What am I doing wrong? I did what a doctor and a person should normally do. In other words, I think anyone would do it.”
“I said that I am not suitable for continuing to work in this position and I want to take a break. The leader did not agree, saying this is the time to test me.”
“From January 1st, I asked everyone to … wear masks, hats, and quickly wash their hands. The South China Seafood Market was shut down.”
“We watched as there were more and more patients, and the radius of the spreading area became larger and larger. First, the South China Seafood Market may be related to it, and then it spread. The radius is getting larger and larger. Many are family-contagious.”
“How come there will be more and more patients?”
On the afternoon of January 3rd, in the Nanjing Road Campus, Dr. Hu Weifeng, who was 43 years old, is now in rescue.
[On January 4, Dr. Ho Pak Leung, head of the Infections Division at the University of Hong Kong, stated that it was likely that this virus was being transmitted from person to person. The Wuhan Health Office responded in denial.]
[On January 8, a patient in another part of the hospital was being treated for glaucoma, by Dr. Li Wenliang. This patient was a storekeeper at the same Huanan Seafood Market.]
[January 9, that patient reports a fever. CAT scan shows a lung infection.]
[January 10, Dr. Li Wenliang developed a cough, with a fever the following day. The CAT scan showed a lung infection. His parents and colleagues were also infected and admitted to the hospital.]
On the morning of January 11th, the department reported to me that Hu Ziwei, a nurse in the emergency department, was infected. She should be the first infected nurse in the central hospital. The hospital held an emergency meeting and instructed us to change the report of “two lung infections, viral pneumonia?” To “two lungs scattered infection”.
The deputy dean said: “Everyone should have a little medical knowledge. Some senior doctors should not make themselves scared to death.”
On January 8th, Nanjing Road Campus On the 22nd floor, Director Jiang Xueqing organised a rehabilitation party for [certain] patients. On January 17, that same doctor, Jiang Xueqing was hospitalized. After 10 days, he was intubated and enrolled in ECMO.
[Also, on January 17-18, the Wuhan authorities allowed for a celebration of the Lunar New Year, resulting in more than 100 thousand people converging on the city’s streets. Among other activities was a mass pot-luck dinner attended by 40,000 families.]
“On January 18th, at 8:30 in the morning, the first doctor fell.”
“On January 21st, our emergency department received 1,523 patients, which was three times the usual maximum. Among them, 655 had a fever.”
[The city of Wuhan was closed on January 23.]
“If this is a war, the emergency department is at the forefront… subsequent wards were saturated… none of the patients were admitted, and the ICU also refused to accept it, saying that there were clean patients in it, and they were contaminated as soon as they entered. The patients kept going to the emergency department, and the road behind them was blocked, so they were all piled up in the emergency department.”
One man died in his car in the hospital parking area. “At first glance, people are dead.”
“The queue at the entrance of the hot clinic every day needs to be queued for 5 hours.
The patients who died in the emergency department were all cases that were not diagnosed and could not be diagnosed.”
“Before this epidemic, myocardial infarction, cerebral infarction, gastrointestinal bleeding, trauma, etc., were the scope of our emergency department. That kind of busyness is a busy with a sense of accomplishment. The purpose is clear. There is a smooth process for all types of patients. It is very mature. What to do next, how to do it, and who to go to if there is a problem.”
“This time, there were so many critically ill patients; they were unable to deal with it and unable to accept hospitalisation, and our medical staff were still at this risk. This busyness was really helpless and very sad.”
“Around mid-to-late January, the hospital’s leaders fell ill one after another, including the director of our office and three deputy directors. The daughter of the chief of the medical department is also ill, and he is also resting at home. So basically, no one was in charge of you for a while, you just fight there, that’s the feeling.”
“I just work every day with the belief that I will fall. Everyone in the hospital thought I was a miracle. I analysed it myself, probably because I have asthma, and using some inhaled hormones that may inhibit the deposition of these viruses in the lungs.”
“On the morning of February 21st, the leader talked to me. Actually, I want to ask a few questions. For example, did he think that criticism was wrong that day? I hope he would give me an apology. But I dare not ask.”
“No one said sorry to me on any occasion.”
“But I still feel that this time it is more clear that everyone has to stick to their own independent thinking.”