In Coronavirus Epicenter of Wuhan, Man Jumps to His Death After Failing to Get Treatment

By Frank Fang
Frank Fang
Frank Fang
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers U.S., China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.
February 23, 2020Updated: February 23, 2020

A 70-year man infected with the novel coronavirus jumped to his death in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, after local officials refused to send him to a hospital for treatment.

The man’s wife, a 68-year-woman surnamed Cheng, said her husband jumped from the ninth floor of their apartment building in the Qiaokou district at about 2 p.m. local time on Feb. 10.

“I had just laid down to [take a rest] when I heard a loud bang. I got up immediately,” Cheng told the Chinese-language Epoch Times. “I didn’t know he would do something stupid. He could hardly walk. He used a stick to get on top of a stool before jumping from the ninth floor.”

Her husband was a hemodialysis patient and needed to go to the hospital for treatment three times a week, she said. During one of his trips to the hospital, according to Cheng, he was infected with the virus; she said she was eventually infected as well.

Cheng said she took him to at least two different hospitals on Jan. 27, but both refused to attend to him, claiming that they had no capacity to treat him at the time.

They reached out to the local neighborhood committee, an organization run by the Chinese Communist Party, in the hope that they could be admitted to a hospital for his dialysis treatment and to get an official diagnostic test for the coronavirus.

Cheng said the neighborhood committee didn’t appear to care, saying the couple first needed to secure permission from officials of the street committee and health and family planning committee, which are Party organizations at the local level that typically manage residents’ activities.

In the week before her husband ended his life, Cheng said that he could barely eat anything and developed a serious case of diarrhea—conditions that pushed her husband to end his life.

On Feb. 9, the street committee called the family and said the man could be tested for the virus in the evening. But the committee later said, without providing an explanation, that the testing couldn’t be conducted after all, the couple’s son said.

Cheng said the street committee agreed Feb. 11 to let her go to a hospital, after her younger son threatened the committee over not handing over his father’s dead body for cremation. The son was also infected with the virus, but his condition had steadily improved after taking some medicine.

Cheng’s son filmed himself while in a heated argument with the street committee on Feb. 10. In the video, he said his father wouldn’t have jumped if the committee had kept their word.