By Invitation

Whistle-blowers in medical fields

Whistle-blowers are often ostracised or discriminated against. Yet, there are people who publicly expose wrongdoing in an organisation even when doing so comes at great risk to themselves.

On the second last day of last year, Dr Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital in China, used a social messaging app to warn a group of his medical school classmates about the coronavirus outbreak (though at that time, it was still a mysterious infection).

The local police responded quickly. They tried to intimidate and muzzle Dr Li. They accused him of scaremongering and made him sign a statement to declare that his action constituted "illegal behaviour".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2020, with the headline 'Whistle-blowers in medical fields'. Subscribe