Returned medics ask for on-going support for Sichuan

Saturday, June 7, 2008
Issue 367, Page 1 & 3
Word count: 421
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The first government medical crew which was sent to Sichuan appealed to society yesterday to continue support the quake relief as “a long road is still ahead for the massive reconstruction work”.

The 20 doctors and nurses from Centro Hospitalar Conde de São Januário (CHCSJ) and Kiang Wu Hospital who flew to Chengdu on May 23 arrived home Tuesday and shared their experiences with colleagues at the Health Bureau yesterday.

Lei Choi Zhu, a doctor from CHCSJ’s emergency department, said she mainly helped escort patients to train stations and airports or collect patients from helipads as many victims were sent to neighbouring provinces.
“The most impressive experience I had in Chengdu was that I and another three medics carried the stretcher and rushed to a motioning military helicopter to collect a patient,” Dr Lei told the reporters.

“We had no knowledge of how to rescue people from a helicopter but at that moment we only knew that we had to get the patient out of the quake-stricken area to the hospital as soon as possible,” she added.

Through daily contact with patients and locals, the doctor said she learned that the mainlanders are still suffering from trauma after the deadly quake, but to make it worse, the victims have no homes to go to.

“We have to keep supporting them in the future for the province’s restoration and not help them just for a brief period,” Dr Lei said.

Dr Lei said she understands that it’s a doctor’s obligation and duty to help people no matter where they are.

“I was honoured to be able to be part of the team but there are still a lot of medics who wish to go there but are restricted by the quotas,” she said.

However, the doctor said her colleagues had still contributed in the quake relief but just in “another form” and a different place.

“My colleagues were very concerned and called us every day during the trip. Although they cannot physically be in Sichuan, they had to share our work and attend more shifts while we were away,” she explained.

“I feel I’m very lucky to be able to live in Macau,” Lei said, adding “natural disaster is really unavoidable and you really can’t predict what is going to happen tomorrow.”

“But when I see how the Chinese people work together, I know that unity can actually solve a lot of problems,” she said.

It is understood that the second batch of local medics will be sent to Sichuan next week.

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