Li Wenliang Bio – Wiki
Li Wenliang was a Chinese ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, considered one of the first people to issue a warning about the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, on 30 December 2019. On 3 January 2020, Wuhan police summoned him and admonished him for “making false comments on the Internet.” Li returned to work but later contracted the virus from an infected patient. He died from the infection on 7 February 2020.
Wenliang was born on 12 October 1986 in Beizhen, Liaoning, China. He was 33 years old.
The story of how China announced the death of Dr Li Wenliang & then allegedly told doctors to put his body on life support & say he was ‘critical’. A grotesque end to the story of a brave man who tried to warn about the coronavirus & has now died from it. Produced @brysonandy pic.twitter.com/yy4hngupl0
— Ros Atkins (@BBCRosAtkins) February 6, 2020
He studied clinical medicine at Wuhan University for seven years, where he acquired his Master of Medicine degree.
After graduation, he worked in Xiamen, Fujian, for three years before returning to Wuhan to work as an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central hospital.
On 30 December 2019, Li saw a patient’s report which showed a positive result with a high confidence level for SARS coronavirus tests. At 17:43, he said in a WeChat group of his medical school classmates, “There were 7 confirmed cases of SARS at Huanan Seafood Market.” He also posted the report and a patient’s CT scan result. At 18:42, he added, “the latest news is, it has been confirmed that they are coronavirus infections, but the exact virus to be subtyped.” He also explained what a coronavirus is with the message.
After screenshots of his WeChat message were posted online, the medical superintendents of his hospital soon came to him for a talk. On 3 January, Zhangnan Street Police Station of the Wuhan Public Security Bureau, Wuchang Branch warned and admonished Li for “making false comments on the Internet”. The police officers there asked him to sign on an exhortation letter.
On 8 January, he contracted the coronavirus when he saw an infected patient at the hospital. He developed a fever and cough on 10 January which soon became severe. On 12 January, he was admitted to intensive care where he was quarantined and given treatment. Due to a shortage of test kits for the novel coronavirus, a definitive diagnosis of the infection was not made until 1 February. Many of his colleagues and family members were also infected with the virus.
He was under the spotlight of the Chinese public and media for he is considered as one of eight “rumormongers” warned by Wuhan police. However, according to some media, Wuhan police summoned eight “rumormongers” on 1 January, while Li and Xie Linka, a doctor from the Wuhan Union Hospital, were warned on 3 January, which means that the two persons might not be one of the eight “rumormongers.”
China’s Supreme People’s Court said that in retrospect, the eight Wuhan citizens should not have been punished as what they said is not entirely false.
“It might have been a fortunate thing if the public had believed the ‘rumors’ then and started to wear masks and carry out sanitization measures, and avoid the wild animal market,” the top court’s social media account said on 4 February.
Li told Caixin that he had been worried the hospital would punish him for “spreading rumors” but felt relieved after the top court publicly criticized the police. “I think there should be more than one voice in a healthy society, and I don’t approve of using public power for excessive interference,” said Li.
Wife & Children
Li and his wife had one child. His wife was pregnant with their second child when he died.
Death / Cause of Death
On 6 February, Chinese state media reported that Li had died at the age of 34. According to China Newsweek, his heartbeat stopped at 21:30, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) was used to keep him alive. According to several sources, including Li’s colleagues, an ECMO was used to maintain his life 3 hours after his heartbeat stopped.
The World Health Organization posted on Twitter saying that it is “saddened by the passing of Dr. Li Wenliang,” after Li’s death.
However, Wuhan Central Hospital initially released a statement contradicting the reports of his death: “In the process of fighting the coronavirus, the eye doctor from our hospital Li Wenliang was unfortunately infected. He is now in critical condition and we are doing our best to rescue him.” The hospital later confirmed that Li had died, and gave his time of death as 02:58 on 7 February 2020.