Elderly Man Attempts Suicide After Being Denied Treatment for Coronavirus

February 19, 2020 Updated: February 20, 2020
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An elderly man who suffered from the symptoms of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) almost took his own life after he was unable to get immediate treatment. His daughter said their community office, which is in charge of arranging hospital visits for coronavirus patients, got him admitted to a hospital only after the attempted suicide.

Ms. Zhang spoke with the Chinese-language Epoch Times about her father’s ordeal in seeking medical treatment.

Ms. Zhang returned to her hometown in Qingshan District of Wuhan City from Beijing on Jan. 18 to celebrate the Lunar New Year with her parents. Her father had been ill with flu-like symptoms. She had just heard about the new mystery virus that began to spread in the city.

“I was informed about the Wuhan epidemic by a colleague before I came back,” Ms. Zhang told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on Feb. 12. “But I didn’t take it seriously because there were no news reports about the outbreak. And my parents were not aware of the situation.”

“I did wear a mask on my way home, and I saw a few people with masks when I got off the train. Even at Beijing railway station, only several young people, who probably read the news, wore masks. It was mostly the foreign media reporting about the epidemic at that time.”

Wuhan is the epicenter of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Mr. Zhang’s health deteriorated after several hospital visits. A CT scan revealed he had symptoms of the coronavirus, but it was not confirmed with a diagnostic test. He was sent home instead of being admitted to the hospital.

Attempted Suicide

For ten days, Mr. Zhang waited at home—with a high fever—for the staff at his community’s office to make arrangements for him to be admitted to the hospital. The prescribed medication did not help relieve his symptoms.

“My father first went to a major hospital on Feb. 1, and the CT scan showed infections in his lungs. Then he started visiting the designated No. 9 Hospital every day from Feb. 2 to 5, where the doctors only gave medication and injections. It has been ten days since he started a fever and waited in despair,” Ms. Zhang said.

“It was a torment for my father to go to the hospital. He would arrive there at 3 p.m. and wait in line for 3 hours to get an injection. It was very cold inside the hospital and the people around him coughed a lot—many people were in bad shape. His whole body was icy cold after walking home from the hospital. Because of these four days of suffering, we didn’t want him to go to the hospital again.”

Ms. Zhang and her mother isolated themselves in different rooms in the house so they wouldn’t get infected with the virus.

Worried about her husband, Mrs. Zhang cried frequently and began to suffer from mild depression and sleepless nights.

Mr. Zhang felt like he was a burden to his family. He then attempted to take his own life.

“There was more than one cut on his wrist, they were all deep and long,” Ms. Zhang said.

Mrs. Zhang saved her husband’s life. She stopped him from committing suicide when she went to check on him in his room.

Ms. Zhang said, “My father did not get the opportunity to take a gene sequencing test until two days after his suicide attempt.”

“Our community office [of Qingshan District] failed to provide the necessary authorization to help my father get diagnosed quickly or get him into a hospital in a timely manner,” she added.

The results came out on Feb. 8. Mr. Zhang tested positive for the novel coronavirus. “He was in anguish,” Ms. Zhang said. The family could only try to comfort him.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do now. Many families are suffering more than us,” Ms. Zhang said.

Nursing Home Is Used for Quarantine

Ms. Zhang pointed out that undoubtedly a large number of people who are diagnosed are not hospitalized nor quarantined. “Those who die at home are sent directly to a crematorium—there are many of them who don’t get tested nor receive medical treatment. These people are excluded from the official death toll.”

She added that many people are being sent to a nursing home for quarantine.

“In a nursing home, patients do not receive any injections or medication. Each medical staff is in charge of more than 80 patients. The equipment is insufficient, and even the food is not fresh,” Ms. Zhang said.

“The community office [of Qingshan District] is now responsible for everything, including arranging hospitalization and medical treatment, and reporting severe cases.”