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Psychotherapy helps SARS patient recover
Updated: 2004-04-27 17:03

Psychological methods have proved helpful in the rehabilitation of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) patient in east China's Anhui Province, a doctor overseeing the treatment said.

The patient, a 26-year-old female medical postgraduate surnamed Song, had a normal temperature of 37.1 degrees Celsius on Friday morning and saw further improvement in other vital signs such as breath and blood pressure as well, according to Zhang Xuejun, president of Anhui University of Medical Sciences.

Song is now receiving medical treatment at the No.1 Hospital affiliated to the Anhui University of Medical Sciences where she is studying as a postgraduate.

According to Zhang, psychological therapy has "played a significant role in helping Song recover and produced good effects." The therapy was introduced to counteract the fear that may come over her and diminish her confidence to recover, Zhang said.

According to the therapy, fellow students and teachers from the university have been arranged to "talk" to Song through short messages on mobile phones, to encourage her cooperation in treatment.

In addition, Song was informed of her illness' developments and analyses in a timely manner, in light of that she is a would-be doctor and is likely to have professional and objective views on her illness.

This was done to let her know that "her illness is nothing dreadful, and she can recover" and to help build up her confidence,the president said.

Song has been in a good mood since the psychotherapy began and has a good appetite, Zhang said, adding that she sent him a short message Monday saying "Thanks for the care from the university authorities. I will try my best to recover."

According to Zhang, medical workers continued supportive treatment, injecting albumin and blood plasma to help her regain strength and improve immunity, while reducing the dosage of antibiotics which were used to prevent secondary infection.

The Chinese Ministry of Health announced two SARS cases in Anhui on Friday afternoon. The other was Song's mother, a suspected SARS patient who died on April 19.

As a postgraduate of the Anhui University of Medical Sciences, Song was sent to study at a Beijing-based research institute of viral diseases under the Chinese Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) from March 7 to 22.

On March 23, Song went back to Hefei, capital of Anhui Province,by train and then returned to Beijing by train after complaining of fever on March 25. Later, she went to see doctors in Beijing and Huainan City of Anhui Province. On April 4, she was transferred to the No. 1 Hospital under the Anhui University of Medical Sciences for further treatment.

The daily SARS surveillance report from the Ministry of Health said Monday that "the Anhui patient surnamed Song is in stable condition and none of the people with close contact with her have showed abnormal symptoms so far."

Nationwide, China reported no new cases of SARS from 10 a.m. Sunday to 10 a.m. Tuesday, the ministry said.

China has currently two diagnosed SARS patients. One is Song inAnhui, and the other, surnamed Li, is in Beijing. Li has been in stable condition and had normal temperature for 11 successive days.

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