Doctor sails in to serve small-island inhabitants

By ZOU SHUO| (China Daily)| Updated : 2023-02-22

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Wan Kuidi, 46, has been a village doctor for more than 20 years, and in the past three years he has provided major support for 800 villagers on a small island in Qingdao, Shandong province, according to local media outlet Bandao.

As the only doctor on Tianheng Island — which only covers 1.46 square kilometers and is about 1.7 km from the mainland — Wan takes a ferry to the island's clinics every morning.

In 2019, the head of the Tianheng township hospital, surnamed Zhang, tried to persuade Wan to take the village doctor post on the island as the previous doctor had retired. After discussing it with his wife, Wan took the offer in early 2020, just as the pandemic started.

In the beginning, he had a hard time getting used to the humidity of the island and the lack of infrastructure. He had thought about quitting, but Zhang told him that he could only quit if a successor were to be found, and so he stayed.

Over the past three years, Wan has not once taken a day off. He keeps a record of the health conditions of everyone on the island and regularly checks the blood pressure and blood glucose level of seniors at their homes.

Zhang said he is glad he made his decision three years ago. Thanks to Wan's dedication and hard work, none of the villagers on the island have developed serious or severe COVID-19 infections.

With young people leaving the island, most of the villagers are elderly, making it easy for them to develop complications due to COVID-19 infections.

In late December, many villagers started to have COVID-19 symptoms and so Wan had to keep a busy schedule looking after them.

Zheng Ruifang, 58, had a fever, sore throat and fatigue from his COVID infection.

She said Wan is the villagers' "backbone".

"No matter how late it is, he always picks up the phone and responds to our calls for medical help," she said. "He is very meticulous and never gets agitated no matter how many times he needs to repeat medical orders to the elderly."