Wuhan doctor whose skin turned dark after contracting Covid-19 makes first public appearance post recovery

A healthy looking Dr. Yi Fan returned to Wuhan's Taikang Tongji Hospital on Monday after a five-month break at home


                            Wuhan doctor whose skin turned dark after contracting Covid-19 makes first public  appearance post recovery
(Wuhan Central Hospital/CCTV)

A Chinese doctor has appeared in public for the first time since his skin color returned to normal after suddenly turning dark due to coronavirus treatment. 42-year-old Dr. Yi Fan made a full recovery from COVID-19 after contracting the disease from patients at a Wuhan hospital in January. A spokesperson previously said that his abnormal skin tone was triggered by an antibiotic drug he had taken during intensive care, the Daily Mail reported. Dr. Yi -- a cardiologist at Wuhan Central Hospital -- fell ill shortly after the virus broke out in Wuhan and later spread across the world, claiming more than a million lives thus far. The medic is a colleague of late COVID-19 whistle-blower Li Wenliang, who was rebuked by Wuhan authorities for raising the alarm about the deadly contagion and later died from the disease. 

A worker wears a protective mask while cleaning construction waste at WuhanKeting on February 4th, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. (Getty Images)

Dr. Hu Weifend, another co-worker of Dr. Yi, was infected with the virus on the same day as him. While his skin also turned dark during the treatment, he died in early June after battling the virus for nearly five months, per the report. Dr. Yi returned to Wuhan's Taikang Tongji Hospital on Monday after a five-month break at home. The medic looked like his old self in a video released by Hubei Today, where he thanked a doctor who had helped save his life. In the clip, Dr. Yi thanked Wang Chen -- an academician specializing in respiratory disease and critical care -- and also gave him a bouquet. "Academician Wang is my savior. I need to thank him for sure," Dr. Yi told reporters at the scene.

Dr. Yi and his colleague Dr. Hu were previously seen in footage released on Beijing TV lying in their sickbeds with their dark skin in Wuhan's Tongji Hospital. According to Prof Duan Jun, the deputy director of the Department of Critical Care Medicine at China-Japan Friendship Hospital, doctors had given Dr. Yi and Dr. Hu Polymyxin B, a last-resort antibiotic, to treat the symptoms. He explained that the hyper-pigmentation on the skin was caused due to the drug but would gradually disappear as they recovered, he said at a May 9 press briefing, per The Sun.

People attend a vigil to mourn for doctor Li Wenliang on February 7, 2020, in Hong Kong, China. (Getty Images)

The medical term initially thought the patients' abnormal skin color was due to hormonal imbalances from liver damage due to coronavirus. Dr. Yi and Dr. Hu were taken first to the Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital and then transferred to Tongji Hospital's Zhongfa Xincheng branch following their January 18 diagnosis, Chinese state outlet CCTV reported. Yi's condition improved significantly after doctors hooked him to a life-support machine called ECMO for more than a month. He confessed that the entire ordeal had traumatized him to a certain degree. "When I first gained consciousness, especially after I got to know about my condition, I felt scared. I had nightmares often," he reportedly told a reporter.

The doctor said he was still in the process of overcoming the psychological hurdle, and noted how his colleagues often comforted him and arranged counseling for his mental well being. Dr. Yi was eventually discharged by the hospital in May, and has since made a full recovery from COVID-19.

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