A Chinese doctor whose skin color changed radically after falling ill with COVID-19 is slowly returning to normal.

The Wuhan doctor, Yi Fan, 42, contracted the virus in the line of duty in January and his skin gradually turned dark while undergoing treatment. Another doctor, Hu Weifeng, who was also being treated for COVID-19 with Dr. Fan, saw a similar change in his skin color, sparking contradictions as to whether a hormonal imbalance due to liver damage or a particular drug administered during the initial stages of the hospitalization was responsible for it.

Dr. Fan was discharged by the Wuhan hospital last week after making a recovery, Daily Mail reported. Dr. Weifeng still remains hospitalized, the publication said.

The doctors contracted the illness while treating patients at Wuhan Central Hospital and were rushed to Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital after falling seriously ill. They were then transferred to Tongji Hospital's Zhongfa Xincheng branch. Dr. Fan, a cardiologist, was placed on life support for 39 days in April through a machine called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which pumps and oxygenates the blood of the patient outside his body. Dr. Weifeng, a urologist, had been bedridden for 99 days after undergoing the ECMO therapy from Feb. 7 to March 22. Weifeng’s doctor Li Shusheng said his skin color was expected to change back as soon as his liver functions improve.

Footage released by Beijing TV station on April 6 showed both the doctors lying in their sickbeds with darkened skin. A recent picture of the medic released on May 9 showed him having regained his old skin color.

Prof Duan Jun, the deputy director of the Department of Critical Care Medicine at China-Japan Friendship Hospital, attributed the change in skin color to Polymyxin B, a last-resort antibiotic given to both the doctors during their treatment. He said the usage led to hyper-pigmentation in their bodies, assuring that the condition would gradually subside as they recovered, according to a news release.

Dr. Fan and Dr. Weifeng are colleagues of late doctor Li Wenliang, who was reprimanded by police for sounding the alarm about the deadly pathogen before dying of the illness on Feb. 7.

coronavirus infected chinese doctors find their skin darkened after their recovery
coronavirus infected chinese doctors find their skin darkened after their recovery H Shaw - Unsplash
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