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China's last SARS patient leaves hospital
Updated: 2004-05-22 14:46

China's last severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) patient was discharged from the Beijing Ditan Hospital on Friday.

The female patient, a 49-year-old retired doctor surnamed Zhang,left the ward at 7:40 in the evening on a wheeled bed. Wearing an oxygen mask, Zhang gave a thumbs up to the people waiting outside.

"Thanks to the doctors for giving me a second life," Zhang saidin a feeble voice. She was then put into an ambulance.

She was later transferred to the non-SARS Guangwai Hospital for further medical treatment due to other illnesses she had before her SARS infection.

Recovered SARS patient, surnamed Zhang, is discharged from Ditan Hospital in Beijing May 21, 2004. The discharge of Zhang, the last SARS patient in Beijing, indicates the end of the medical efforts against the disease in the Chinese capital. Zhang was transferred on May 21 to another hospital because of other diseases. [Xinhua]
Zhang's departure indicated the end of the medical efforts against the disease in the country and all Beijing's seven SARS patients lived through the epidemic, said Mao Yu, president of theDitan Hospital.

The epidemic that first broke out in China in spring 2003 appeared again on April 22 in the country and seven people were confirmed as SARS patients. The first-found patient surnamed Li, a 20-year-old female, was a nurse in Beijing's Jiangong Hospital.

Zhang once shared the same ward with Li in the Jiangong Hospital and was sent to the Ditan Hospital on April 22. She already suffered seven other kinds of diseases and became the mostserious case among all the seven peoples.

The X-ray check indicated that the shadow on Zhang's lung has basically disappeared and her body temperature stayed steadily at 37 Celsius degrees without use of man-made hormone, Mao said.

He said Zhang had met the conditions for being removed from SARS isolation but needed further medical treatment for other illnesses.

The disease was effectively controlled without any infection ofmedical staff or other patients thanks to careful preparation and prompt medical efforts, said the official, adding that the hospital worked out detailed remedies for each patient to obtain the best result.

"The medical resolution was personalized to fit each individualcase," and that might be the most different aspect from last year,Mao said.

After the outbreak in 2003, the health authority at all levels improved its mechanism to deal with emergency cases and the medical staff have gained experience on how to handle such situations, he said.

The Ditan Hospital also enhanced its equipment and management of the SARS intensive care unit (ICU), which efficiently prohibited cross infection, the official added.

The first SARS case was found in the Foshan City of south China's Guangdong province in November 2002.

China was seriously hit by the outbreak of the epidemic in 2003.Last year, a total of 5,327 SARS cases were reported on the Chinese mainland, 4,959 patients were cured and discharged from hospital.

The death toll from the disease in China stood at 349. Of the total figure, 2,521 SARS cases and 193 deaths from the disease were reported in Beijing.

The Ditan Hospital will resume normal operation in a week or soas it implements thorough disinfecting measures on Saturday.

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