Guarding lives of those on brink of death
Xu Furong prepares medicine at an ICU ward at Hunan Provincial People's Hospital in Changsha, central China's Hunan Province, Sept 9, 2022. [Xinhua/Chen Sihan]
CHANGSHA -- An intensive care unit (ICU) nurse in central China's Hunan Province, Xu Furong has for 14 years delivered intensive care to patients during the most vulnerable times of their lives.
"ICU nurses guard lives of those who are on the brink of death. It is our duty," said Xu, a delegate to the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a head nurse at Hunan Provincial People's Hospital.
In February 2020, she volunteered to join the Hunan medical team sent to help battle the COVID-19 epidemic in Huanggang City in neighboring Hubei Province.
Within three days of their arrival in Huanggang, Xu and her colleagues set up a temporary ICU and admitted 15 patients who were in critical condition.
In the span of 42 days, Xu and other team members treated a total of 49 critically ill patients. None of the medical staff was infected.
On the day they left, residents lined the street to see them off. "It's all worth it," Xu said.
Not long after returning from Huanggang, Xu, once again, offered to join a 12-member team of medical experts of Hunan Province to aid the fight against COVID-19 in Africa.
Xu and other team members visited more than 70 institutions and units in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea. They offered guidance to local communities and hospitals on improving treatment procedures and plans. They also went to isolation wards and discussed cases with local medics.
Before returning to China, the team submitted proposals on COVID-19 epidemic control and prevention to the two countries.
Xu recalled being asked by a World Health Organization official why so many Chinese medics volunteered to offer help in areas hit hardest by the epidemic.
"We will all take the initiative to rush to the frontline when there are difficulties in our country, regardless of the cost and our own lives. It's a kind of consciousness that is already in our blood," she answered.
Xu and her team have thus far kept an ICU journal for 19 patients, including a 34-year-old male patient surnamed Tang, who was admitted in February 2021 for severe acute pancreatitis.
Tang felt so desperate and helpless in the beginning that he thought of giving up. Encouragement and meticulous care from Xu and her team revived his aspiration for life. Xu gave a copy of the journal to him when he recovered in 95 days.
"This is the most precious gift I have ever received," he said.
Xu and her team have also been exploring the development of online hospital, making services outside the hospital available for some seniors in need, and patients with chronic diseases and tumor.
Patients in the provincial capital of Changsha could "place an order" on the phone and there will be nurses making house calls.
Xu calls it "an utmost honor" and "a huge responsibility" to be elected a delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress.
"I want to contribute more to the improvement of the health of the people," she said.
Xu Furong poses for a photo at Hunan Provincial People's Hospital in Changsha, central China's Hunan Province, Sept. 9, 2022. [Xinhua/Chen Sihan]
Xu Furong (C) and her colleague check the hospitalization information of patients at an ICU ward nurse station at Hunan Provincial People's Hospital in Changsha, central China's Hunan Province, Sept. 9, 2022. [Xinhua/Chen Sihan]
Xu Furong (C) and her colleagues take care of a patient at an ICU ward at Hunan Provincial People's Hospital in Changsha, central China's Hunan Province, Sept. 9, 2022. [Xinhua/Chen Sihan]