Radio Libre Asia (RFA) cited anguished social media posts on Monday from Shanghai residents whose loved ones died because the harsh coronavirus lockdown imposed on the city three weeks ago prevented them from receiving life-saving medical treatment.
RFA noted that hospitals in Shanghai are pouring all their resources into coronavirus testing and turning away patients who need other care, including life-saving treatments like kidney dialysis and cancer chemotherapy.
“I keep looking for the neighborhood committee and the city government, but they tell me that they can’t get him into Jiading Central Hospital, and we can’t get in. I said, that means Should he stay home and wait for death? Wang Zhumin, a desperate Shanghai resident, said after seeking dialysis for her 77-year-old father.
Shen Ruiyin, a 77-year-old Shanghai resident, died on the evening of March 28 from heart failure caused by prolonged absence of kidney dialysis.https://t.co/rErC1JyJR4
— Radio Free Asia (@RadioFreeAsia) April 12, 2022
Wang said her father needed three dialysis treatments a week, but went seven days without one. She was left to wander the city looking for a facility that could provide care, spending days in waiting rooms without seeing “a doctor’s skin or hair”.
RFA discovered that Shanghai’s social media was filled with pleas for “help from somewhere, anywhere”. Some of these people died without the help they desperately needed:
Shen Ruiyin, a 77-year-old Shanghai resident, died on the evening of March 28 from heart failure caused by prolonged absence of kidney dialysis. His son Shen Li took to Weibo to complain that his father had been transferred between three different hospitals after testing positive for COVID-19 on March 26.
He died alone in the hospital, with no family by his side, without the medication he needed and without dialysis, Shen Li wrote.
Qi Guoyong, a 79-year-old Shanghai resident, lost his wife Zhang Siling in late March.
“I am very saddened by the death of my wife, but there is nothing I can do about it,” Qi told RFA. “I hope the hospital can give me some kind of an answer…I just want them to give me an explanation.”
RFA also found asthma patients who died after being denied treatment, and critically or terminally ill patients told to wait weeks for urgent procedures. These sick patients and their caregivers must also contend with Shanghai’s crippling food shortages. According to Taiwanese media, some 30 million Chinese truck drivers are stuck on the roads due to the closures, many of them carrying loads of food and medicine.
Shanghai’s imprisoned population have turned to crowdsourcing medical care from each other, using social media to seek medical advice, advice on navigating the city’s panicked bureaucracy and advice on finding much-needed medicine .
Reuters Tuesday reported on a man who was able to use chat rooms to locate a pharmacy that could supply his father’s medication. Other members of the chat were even able to help deliver the medicine to him.