Du Liqun: AIDS Fighter

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents - Based on re­ports from China Daily

Just days af­ter re­turn­ing home from Beijing af­ter at­tend­ing the 19th CPC Na­tional Con­gress as a del­e­gate, Du Liqun re­sumed her nurs­ing rou­tine as usual.

As head nurse of the AIDS Depart­ment at the Nan­ning Fourth Peo­ple’s Hos­pi­tal in the Guangxi Zhuang Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion, the 52-year-old was one of five Chi­nese nurses awarded the Florence Nightin­gale Medal in 2015 by the In­ter­na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross.

Since grad­u­at­ing from col­lege in 1984, Du has re­mained de­voted to pro­vid­ing ser­vices for pa­tients with in­fec­tious diseases. In 2005, when her hos­pi­tal founded the first AIDS depart­ment in the au­ton­o­mous re­gion, she vol­un­teered to serve as its head nurse when no one else dared to risk ex­po­sure to HIV. “I know that many doc­tors and nurses are afraid of be­ing in­fected, but some­one must shoul­der the risk if we are to ever change the situation,” Du said. “Fear is not in­vin­ci­ble. Nei­ther is HIV.”

The first chal­lenge ar­rived in Au­gust of that year when the depart­ment re­ceived an AIDS case com­pli­cated by se­vere skin dis­ease. With­out hes­i­ta­tion, Du donned a pro­tec­tive suit and cleaned the pa­tient’s skin inch by inch, even though the con­di­tion had de­te­ri­o­rated so badly that the pa­tient’s fam­ily had aban­doned him.

She con­tin­ued nurs­ing the pa­tient as such for a dozen days, and even­tu­ally his health im­proved. “I be­lieve that ev­ery life should be treated with dig­nity, and that in­cludes AIDS pa­tients, of course,” she

de­clared. “We should not give up eas­ily.”

Ac­cord­ing to Du, many of her pa­tients are drug ad­dicts, who tend to be more sen­si­tive and self-loathing. “Along­side the dan­ger of oc­cu­pa­tional ex­po­sure, of­fen­sive be­hav­iors hap­pen in the ward now and then,” she ex­plains. “An ir­ri­ta­ble pa­tient can be as dan­ger­ous as a crim­i­nal.”

She re­mem­bers a morn­ing in 2006 when an emergency call dragged her out of bed: A drug-ad­dicted pa­tient named Qiang was hold­ing a young doc­tor hostage with a knife at her neck, threat­en­ing to in­fect her with AIDS. Du slowly and care­fully ap­proached the pa­tient while talk­ing to him ca­su­ally, pa­tiently lis­ten­ing to his needs and fi­nally man­ag­ing to calm his rage.

At­tracted by her pro­fes­sional skill and ded­i­ca­tion, more and more young nurses like to work with Du, and her team has ex­panded from the orig­i­nal eight peo­ple to over 80.

Hop­ing to draw more at­ten­tion to AIDS pre­ven­tion, for years Du has vis­ited schools, com­mu­ni­ties and con­struc­tion sites to per­son­ally ed­u­cate peo­ple on how to pro­tect them­selves from the virus.

Al­though she has been hon­ored by myr­iad or­ga­ni­za­tions, Du still con­sid­ers her­self

just an or­di­nary per­son. “The most amaz­ing thing in my life was meet­ing Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping,” ex­claimed Du proudly.

In 2015, she at­tended a meet­ing with Xi as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Zhuang eth­nic group.

“The pres­i­dent places great im­por­tance on the de­vel­op­ment of eth­nic mi­nor­ity groups and praises our con­tri­bu­tions to eth­nic unity,” Du as­serted. “Af­ter meet­ing him, I re­al­ized that my ca­reer doesn’t only af­fect peo­ple’s health, but also the sta­bil­ity of so­ci­ety.”

As for her re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as a del­e­gate to the 19th CPC Na­tional Con­gress, Du is en­thu­si­as­tic. “It is a great po­lit­i­cal event,” Du beamed. “I was given new mis­sions— ex­press­ing the will of the peo­ple and help­ing build a bet­ter so­ci­ety, which makes me feel re­ally proud.”

Septem­ber 18, 2017: Du en­quires about the con­di­tion of a pa­tient. Du be­lieves that ev­ery life should be treated with dig­nity. by Lu Bo’an/xin­hua

Du Liqun pre­pares to give an in­fu­sion to a pa­tient. As head nurse of the AIDS depart­ment, Du must tackle stiff chal­lenges on a daily ba­sis. by Huang Xiaobang/xin­hua

Du takes care of a se­nior pa­tient. As a del­e­gate to the 19th CPC Na­tional Con­gress, Du in­sisted that she would con­tinue her de­vo­tion to serv­ing oth­ers. by Zhou Hua/xin­hua Jan­uary 30, 2014: Du gives a gift to a pa­tient to cel­e­brate Chi­nese Lu­nar New...

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