29 Year-Old Doctor Treating Patients in Coronavirus Epicenter Dies From Disease

By Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.
February 21, 2020Updated: February 22, 2020

Peng Yinhua passed away from the COVID-19 coronavirus on Feb. 20, and became the latest medical staff in China to succumb to the disease.

Peng, 29, was a doctor at the Jiangxia district People’s No. 1 Hospital in Wuhan City, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

When his condition became critical, he was given a plasma transfusion. But he could not recover.

This month, there were two other confirmed cases of doctors who died from the disease after contracting the virus from treating patients: Liu Zhiming, director of the Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, and Li Wenliang, a whistleblower doctor from Wuhan Central Hospital.

According to a Feb. 17 study published by a group of doctors from China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology magazine, 3,019 medical staff across the country have been infected with the coronavirus between Dec. 8, 2019 to Feb. 11. According to their tally, five of them passed away (not counting Liu and Peng).

Young Doctor

Peng was from Yunmeng County in Xiaogan City, Hubei province, Peng’s colleague Chen Hao told state-run newspaper Yangtze River Daily on Feb. 21. The area is roughly 55 miles from Wuhan.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the Hubei University of Science and Technology in 2015, Peng became a doctor at the Jiangxia district People’s No. 1 Hospital in Wuhan.

In July 2019, Peng started working at the respiratory and critical medicine department of the hospital.

On Dec. 21, 2019, the hospital received its first COVID-19 coronavirus patient. Since then, Peng began treating virus patients, according to the Yangtze River Daily.

On Jan. 25, Peng showed symptoms of the virus. A CT scan showed that his lungs were infected. His colleagues arranged for him to receive treatment in the hospital.

“He [Peng] was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Jan. 30, and was transferred to Jinyintan Hospital, the designated coronavirus hospital. On Feb. 10, his condition deteriorated,” Peng’s wife Zhong Xin told state-run media The Paper on Feb. 21.

His wife is pregnant with their first child.

“We registered to be husband and wife two years ago. We planned to have a wedding ceremony on Feb. 1,” Zhong said. “Because he didn’t know where the outbreak was headed, we decided to postpone the ceremony.”

State-run media reported that Peng locked the wedding ceremony invitations in his cabinet drawers and did not send them out.

“I am in the sixth month of pregnancy. Now I only hope our baby can be born healthy,” Zhong said.

Working Environment

Ling Yun is a nurse from Anhui Province. After being dispatched to Wuhan to help combat the virus outbreak, she has been working at the Jinyintan Hospital. She took care of Peng for several days.

“Peng told me that he had treated more than 300 patients in two days. He was very tired at that time, which caused his immunity level to drop. Then, he became infected with the virus,” Ling told state-run media Life Times on Feb. 21.

“Peng kept communicating with his family members by sending text messages on his cell phone. His lungs weren’t in good condition and it was hard for him to speak,” Ling said.

Ling shared screenshots of text conversations she had with Peng on WeChat, a Facebook-like Chinese social media platform. As his profile picture, Peng used a photo showing he and his wife holding hands.

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