CGTN : Coronavirus Pandemic: 'Hierarchical' medical system helps reduce COVID-19 death rate in China
The outside world has questioned the number of coronavirus deaths and the rate of recovery in China since the outset of the pandemic. But the country's medical system has played a key role in reducing mortality and helping achieve victory. CGTN's Tang Bo has more.
TANG BO Wuhan "This is Xiehe Dongxihu Hospital. It was one of more than 60 hospitals in Wuhan, designated for treatment of COVID-19 patients. This area was renovated into an isolation zone for the treatment of infected patients. It's now been cleared as the pandemic has largely been kept under control and improved in Wuhan. As you can see behind me, the temporary walls are still here. They were used to isolate clean and buffer zones from the contaminated ones. The entire renovation was completed within two days, and was not too difficult to get done. But let's think about the efforts needed to transform ordinary wards into ones that reach the standards of infection control. It could be mission impossible. The hospital did it, but how?"
ZHOU JING Vice President, Xiehedongxihu Hospital "We received the renovation order on January 21st. As required, we needed to turn the area into isolation wards. But what we already had at that time didn't qualify. So we needed the support of infection control experts. We invited some experts from Jinyintan Hospital who helped design the isolation area, and then we conducted the revocation based on the design. When the renovation was done, we realized that we were lacking medical devices and medics. Since we needed specialized areas for treating respiratory and infectious diseases, we had to buy many more medical devices like ventilators. All medical devices we needed were sold out in Hubei Province at that time, therefore we had to contact companies outside the province. Besides, all our physicians and some surgeons had been arranged to treat the virus, I was doing everything I could to help. I even used doctors specializing in traditional Chinese medicine and operating room nurses to help with work in isolation areas."
TANG BO Wuhan "By the end of the day on March 12th, the hospital had treated over 1,200 infected patients, among which 554 people were discharged from the hospital, 187 patients in critical condition were transferred to hospitals with better ICU units for treatment, and 348 patients' symptoms had improved and they were sent to local clinics--and that has helped release the burden of the hospital and saved a lot of hospital beds for those in need. What I'm trying to say is that all designated hospitals in Wuhan have different treatment plans for patients under different health conditions, thanks to a very special hierarchical medical system."
ZHOU JING Vice President, Xiehedongxihu Hospital "At the beginning of the outbreak, there were not enough hospital beds for some infected patients. The isolation areas were fully occupied. Then we started to analyze and realized that some of the patients only had mild symptoms. Those mild cases could have been well treated at local clinics. As a result, we took over three local clinics. We transferred all mild cases to the clinics. So we managed to save a lot more hospital beds for patients in critical condition. Then severe cases stayed here. Those in critical condition were then transferred to hospitals where assisting national medical teams were staying. By doing so, infected patients with different health conditions can be treated in the most appropriate and effective ways."
TANG BO Wuhan "Another key element for the provisional victory over the virus in China was the support of assisting medical teams from across the country. China's best respiratory, infection and ICU medics were sent to Hubei Province to help. That made the treatment capabilities of Hubei Province significantly greater."
ZHOU JING Vice President, Xiehedongxihu Hospital "They have been a magnificent help to us. Only the Chinese government can manage to do it. They were on call at any hour. The medical team who assisted us received the order on Chinese Lunar New Year's eve, and set off to help us the next day. The assisting medical team came from Anhui Province, with 133 medics. 50 of them were then dispatched to Jinyintan Hospital. The remaining over 80 medical professionals took over two of our isolation areas and started to work as soon as they adapted to the new working environment and received some training."
TANG BO Wuhan "This school dormitory has been renovated into an isolation area which has been quite multifunctional. At the very beginning of the outbreak, it received suspected cases and their close contacts. Later, patients who had recovered from severe symptoms but needed rehabilitation care were sent here. Now, it takes in the close contacts of all the symptom-free coronavirus carriers. It helps release the burden on designated hospitals, and put all those suspected cases and their close contacts under observation and control, in order to cut the source of the infection. It has been quite helpful and very important to the medical system hierarchy."
ZHU ZENGXIA Operating room nurse, Xiehedongxihu Hospital "Everyday, we would send one doctor and one nurse as a group to the isolation facility to check on patients' health conditions, including their body temperatures, pulses, breath, blood pressure, and see if they remained within a normal range. We needed to check to see if they had a fever, lacked energy, coughed, had chest pain and so on. We needed to specifically ask about their psychological needs. If they got anxious, agitated or nervous, we'd help them if we could, or we'd turn to our psychologists."
ZHOU JING Vice President, Xiehedongxihu Hospital "There were 32 isolation facilities in Dongxihu District at that time. We took over the largest one. It had been playing an important role in pandemic prevention. Hospitals of course were there for treatment. But patients who needed rehabilitation care were sent to the facility."