2023 Two Sessions: The ER doctor who's the only hope of a mountainous rural village

After traveling over 40 kilometers of muddy roads, Xu Xiaochan finally arrived at Qingxi Village, a small village lying deep in the mountains of Huangshan, Anhui Province.

But the emergency room doctor from a major city hospital soon found out that there was no doctor there, neither was there a proper clinic. "There are maybe some households living on top of one hill and some living on another. Plus, the mountain roads are not easy to travel back and forth along, which creates significant challenges for medical treatment," she told CGTN. 

As she spent more time there, she noticed that a significant number of the elderly population had no choice but to live in pain for long periods, as traveling to a proper clinic would take villagers roughly two hours, and adding in the time to see a doctor and get back home, that would be four to five hours.

"Once, I received a phone call saying an elderly man was complaining of stomachache and wanted to see me. When I arrived, I found out he actually had acute urinary retention," she recalled. 

"He hadn't been able to urinate for two days. If he had delayed treatment any longer, there was a real risk of fatal heart failure."

This year, Xu was elected as a deputy to the 14th National People's Congress, China's top legislature. She hopes she could give more suggestions on rural medical care at the gathering based on her years of hands-on experience. 

"Being a village doctor is very different from being an emergency room doctor. When you are in a village, most patients are long-term patients. But if you can't help them, you probably won't see them the next day," Xu said.

"I hope I can do more for rural healthcare, including on the education front. I really hope I can offer more solid help."

Here's Xu's story.

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