A Chinese family of four has been wiped out by the coronavirus after they were turned away from the hospital and sent home for quarantine.
Chang Kai, 55, a well-known director at Hubei Film Studios in Wuhan, died on Feb. 14 after becoming infected with the coronavirus and succumbing to pneumonia.
Between Jan. 28 and Feb. 14, Chang’s father, mother, and older sister also died from the virus, one of Chang’s former classmates from college informed Caixin.The Chinese Communist Party put into place a policy of home detainment in an effort to take the strain off the overburdened hospital system, and lack of medical supplies.
According to Caixin, Chen Bo, a professor at Wuhan’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology said serious illness could occur by cross-infection in a home quarantine situation, especially without proper medical care and medications. This could then allow the virus to spread throughout the community.
After Chang’s father became unwell on the first day of Chinese New Year, Jan. 25, Chang took him to several hospitals in Wuhan, but each time he was turned away. There was no beds available for the elderly man. He died at home three days later.
Sadly, Chang’s mother died from the virus on Feb. 2, the same day Zhong Nanshan, a leading Chinese epidemiologist stated in a TV interview it was “extremely dangerous” for those infected with the virus to be sent home from hospitals.
Wuhan authorities also announced on that day they were ending the home quarantine policy, and instead, those suffering symptoms would be graded. People would be grouped into confirmed cases, suspected cases, those with fevers—this could be indicative of coronavirus, but also many other illnesses—and those people who had known contact with coronavirus patients. This would allow for patients to be segregated and given treatment as required.
The Chang family and many thousands more in a similar situation would hardly be comforted by this, as it could well be too little too late.
For Chang Kai, his suffering ended on Feb. 14, when he died. His wife also became infected with the virus and is in a critical condition.
Cheng’s former college classmate showed a message Cheng left as he was dying, describing his heartache and frustration at being unable to help his dying family.
Written in poetic classical Chinese, it ends: “As I draw my last feeble breaths, I say to my family, my friends, and my son in faraway London: All my life, I was a filial son, a responsible father, a loving husband, and an honest person! Farewell to those I love and to those who loved me!”
Friends paid homage to the “kindhearted and easygoing” director. “I hope this tragedy will be investigated so we can know whose fault it was,” the classmate said.
The number of infections with the coronavirus is officially 73,376, with 1,874 deaths as of Feb. 18. The real number of infections and deaths is expected to be much higher.