[Diaries from PKU medical teams in Hubei] A memorable experience in the ward
Peking University People’s Hospital (PKUPH) immediately dispatched medical teams to Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, amid the surging demand for medical workers due to the COVID-19 outbreak. After working tirelessly on the front line for a whole day, the medics documented what they had witnessed and how they had felt at work in their diaries. Here is one entry written by Wang Yi, nurse-in-charge of PKUPH Department of Cardiology.
February 15, 2020 Saturday
It was my eighth day in Wuhan, unusual and touching. This was my first time that I had experienced a heavy snow in southern China, with thick clouds blanketing the sun completely. The roaring wind, bringing rain and snow, seemed to be able to freeze us immediately. It was in such an awful weather that we set out to the hospital for work. We started to make preparations as soon as we reached the hospital, with no time to warm our body up. With airtight protective gowns, five layers of medical gloves, double-layer masks, shoe covers, goggles and face shields, we entered the isolation ward.
“Medics from PKUPH, blood collection for xx bed.” After entering the ward with my partner, we double checked and prepared to draw blood for patients. Just when we were about to start, a granny mumbled something rapidly that neither of us was able to understand. I asked patiently and as loudly as I could, “Granny, could you speak again, slowly? I didn't catch what you said.” The granny, pulling her left sleeve upwards with her right hand and pointing to the middle of her arm, said urgently, “Here, here!” Then I understood what she meant. I tied the tourniquet on her arm. My insensible fingers touched the spot where the granny pointed, asking her if this was the spot she wanted for blood sampling. She had already turned her face to the opposite side and replied briefly, “It’s OK, it’s OK, don’t rush, take your time.”
Disinfecting, injecting a needle, and collecting blood. My hand pressed at the holder of the needle, while my partner had to replace collection tubes gently and swiftly for several times. Through cooperation, we did our best to ensure that the needle didn’t move in the vein. In this way, we can obtain better blood samples through smoother blood flow, and this would provide more accurate test results. After filling 10 tubes of blood, my partner and I sweated quite a lot. Blood collection is the most basic work that we usually do, but under special circumstances like this, even a simple step was energy-consuming. With protective clothing from top to toe, vision was blurred, sense of touch weakened, and the duration for collecting blood became hard to control.
When we finished drawing blood, my partner wanted to press longer on the granny’s venipuncture site, lest any bruise be formed there. But the granny said, “Don’t worry. I can do it by myself.” She pressed the venipuncture site with her trembling right hand and turned her face to the other side. Before my partner and I left, I reminded the granny to drink more water. A patient beside us chipped in immediately, “Don’t worry about it. I will help her.” Another patient, who was drinking water when we came in, hurriedly put on her mask in case she might infect us. During our time there, these patients all tried to bother us as little as possible, thus reducing our workload. How considerate these patients were!
I believe that sunshine always comes after rain, and tomorrow is sure to be bright. I hope that when spring comes and flowers blossom, we have already taken off our masks. Wuhan, stay strong! We will definitely win the battle against COVID-19!
Translated by: Bai Qingwen
Edited by: Liu Xin
Source: Peking University People’s Hospital