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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.

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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