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Medic's selfless commitment
( 2003-05-26 10:34) (1)

Mr Deng Lianxian had planned to take a relaxing vacation with his family during the Spring Festival, which fell on February 1 this year.

An emergency specialist with the Zhongshan No 3 Hospital in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, Deng had rarely spent the traditional family gathering period at home for more than 10 years.

Deng's wife Zhu Xiujuan still remembers the Chinese New Year's Eve. Soon after dinner, Deng told her that he would stay with her through the festival.

But 20 minutes later, a phone call from the hospital made him break his promise.

He was informed that two patients had been sent to the hospital and both were in a critical condition with symptoms of pneumonia - later diagnosed as SARS.

Deng rushed to the hospital immediately and worked with his colleagues giving emergency treatment to the patients.

It was already 3 am when Deng returned home. Early next morning, he was waken by a call informing him of another SARS case.

He hurried to the hospital at around 7 am.

This patient had infected a number of medical workers and was close to death.

Deng and other doctors immediately worked to save the dying patient.

As Deng often said: "Since I decided to be a doctor, I have to be prepared to make sacrifices. What the patients need is our priority."

Over the following days, other SARS patients in a serious condition were sent to the hospital and Deng spent most of his time treating them at the hospital.

Zhu was not that worried about Deng at the very beginning. "He had worked on infectious diseases for more than 30 years and could protect himself from the disease."

But to Zhu's surprise, Deng fell ill on February 3 and was sent to hospital two days later.

By February 11, Guangdong Province reported 305 people suffering from SARS - 105 of them medical workers.

During Deng's stay in the hospital, Zhu visited him every day. When he was unable to speak, the couple communicated by writing notes.

Deng's condition deteriorated on April 21. "Obviously, he realized he couldn't make it and did not write anything that day. I saw tears running down his face," Zhu recalled.

Deng, 54, passed away later that day.

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