Chinese violinist Shunping Chen was a member of the Shanghai Pops Symphony Orchestra. He had just celebrated his 71st birthday on April 8.
According to the Shanghai Local Sound, Chen reported to emergency services due to extreme abdominal pain and was granted permission to seek treatment. Upon arriving at two hospitals, he was refused treatment in light of strict COVID-19 measures in place.
According to CNBC News, Shanghai, China’s largest city with a population of 26 million, has been under lockdown since late March this year to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. People have been unable to leave their homes at all — even for essentials such as groceries which are now delivered, as reported by BBC News.
Chen had no choice but to return home and it is believed he was suffering from acute pancreatitis. The next morning, after leaving a note for his family, he passed away leaping from his apartment building.
“I have to say goodbye to my loved ones,” Chen wrote. “I couldn’t stand the pain caused by pancreatitis… I suddenly fell ill last night and was rushed to hospital by an ambulance but several hospitals wouldn’t take me in. Back home, I could feel the full force of the symptoms which I believe were caused by pancreatitis. I couldn’t sleep last night. I think my life is coming to an end.”
It was only later revealed that a reason for the hospitals’ refusals was because they were undergoing disinfection due to COVID-positive cases. They would only admit patients until it was over.
“I do not want to blame or pursue who is responsible, father has passed away, to do so is futile,” wrote Chen’s son on Chinese social media platform, Weibo. “I just hope that through my father’s tragic end, that society can be called on to vigorously respond to the anti-epidemic policy and at the same time, pay more attention to situations like my father’s where he was unable to normally see a doctor, to prevent more tragedies like my father’s.”
Our condolences to Mr. Chen’s family, friends, and colleagues.