Dr. Zhu Heping is the fourth colleague of coronavirus whistleblower Dr. Li Wenliang to die of the disease.
The doctor was pronounced dead at age 66 on Monday in a hospital in Wuhan, Caixin reports. The report did not reveal if Dr. Zhu got infected from his patients.
Dr. Zhu, a deputy director at Wuhan Central Hospital’s department of ophthalmology, fell ill while working in the hospital’s outpatient department.
On March 3, less than a week before Dr. Zhu’s death, 57-year-old ophthalmologist Dr. Mei Zhongming, died at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan.
In addition to Dr. Li, there have been a total of three eye care professionals from the hospital and one specializing in breast and thyroid diseases who have passed away in the span of a little over a month.
According to reports from local media, Dr. Zhu did not reveal his illness to others until his death in the ICU.
After falling ill on February 3, Dr. Zhu’s symptoms reportedly appeared “intermittently.” He initially conducted a self-imposed quarantine before alerting a colleague on February 18 when his condition got worse.
The next day, he was brought to Wuhan Union Hospital after his lungs were found to be infected.
Described as a “hard-working” and “dedicated” physician, Dr. Zhu has reportedly retired before but was only rehired by the hospital.
Despite all efforts to save him, Dr. Zhu’s health deteriorated and eventually succumbed to the disease on Monday morning.