Best Novels > Plague Doctor

Chapter 52

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 52: Disease Bulletin Board

    Dark clouds piled up in the sky, flashes of electricity raced through the clouds, and a thunderstorm seemed to fall at any time.

    The surgical building of the Department of Medicine is not far from the training center. Gu Jun and the others followed Brother Qiang, brisk walked there, and quickly arrived at the front entrance of the 20-storey building. They looked up. The giant behemoth that seemed to tower into the sky and blue-green reflective glass blocked their vision to every floor.

    "This way." Zhou Jiaqiang walked up the old stone stairway and took a massive step forward, acting as a guide.

    The crowd followed his steps. They passed the revolving glass door and entered the lobby on the first floor.

    The spacious and bright lobby was similar to the layout of a surgical building in an ordinary hospital. There was no bustling scene between patients and their families, but the medical staff were similarly busy. Their white coats had work certificates on their chests. At a glance they saw a range of G-grade to F-grade personnel. Each belonging to different departments of surgery.

    Obviously, the entire surgical building was now mobilised for this group of patients with Malformed Banyan Disease.

    "Over here." Brother Qiang waved from the front.

    Gu Jun glanced to his surroundings while walking, naturally wanting to get more information. In the half a month since he arrived there, he was still unclear about the structure of the medical department.

    

    Something suddenly appeared in his periphery. His pupils dilated, and his heart tightened abruptly.

    It was a disease bulletin board on an adjacent wall. Numerous personnel hurriedly walked past it, and no one spared it a second glance as though they were long accustomed to it.

    "Ah. That is?" Wang Ruoxiang, Sun Yuheng, and the others also saw it, and their faces changed slightly.

    "Oh, those are several common diseases." Zhou Jiaqiang had long expected them to react that way. Interns were allowed to view the information in the bulletin board. He then brought them over.

    Their footsteps were much heavier than before. Every hospital will have this kind of bulletin board, which displays information about some disease and pathological pictures. This was also true of this piece of wall, which was made of stainless steel, glass windows, and foamed panels. However, what exactly were the images posted on it?

    The jumbled pictures that reeked of eeriness and madness seemed to sting their eyes, their hearts, and brains.

    [Cleft Wart Skin Disease: The disease was first discovered in Chilin City, Mobei in November of 1987. In the early stage of the disease, the patient accumulates lymphatic fluid1 in the subcutaneous tissue due to the obstruction of lymphatic reflux, causing persistent oedema2 throughout the body. This in turn leads to pathological states of fibrous hyperplasia3, fatty sclerosis4, thickening of the skin, and thickening of the limbs. The disease is often misdiagnosed as elephantiasis lymphedema during the early stage, but in the middle stage, the patient's skin surface will have warts, and part of the skin appears chapped. In the later stages, neoplasms continue to proliferate to cover the whole body…]

    They saw the picture of the case study next to the description. The patient was naked, but did not even retain a human figure and looked like an abomination made from a pile of rot.

    The swollen folds of skin had an extreme kind of blackening, but yellow warts had grown all over the swollen flesh which distorted the flesh into an unrecognisable amalgamation.

    "Hmm…" Tian Zelun swallowed nervously. Even if he was a medical student and had seen the Malformed Banyans and the jimenkens, he still felt nausea rising from the pit of his stomach.

    [Orbital Pseudotumor: The disease was first discovered in April 1995 in Lanshui City, Jiangnan. In the early stage of the disease, the patient had a malignant tumour in the orbital cavity. The forward compression caused the eyeball to protrude, and the backward invasion of the skull into the intracranial area caused increased intracranial pressure. The patient will develop severe headache and vision loss. When the disease enters the middle stage, the abnormal tumour will further invade the brain, and the patient begins to experience unconsciousness, and auditory and visual hallucinations, which gradually worsens into delirium and blindness…]

    In the several pictures of the case, the patient's face was as pale as a skeleton, but his eyes were severely protruding, lined with eerie green blood vessels, and seemed as if they were about to burst.

    That panicked and crazed look was because he saw something horrifying. What exactly did the patient see in those hallucinations?

    [Systemic Rehder Taeniasis: The disease first broke out in Rehder City, Guixi in February 1935. The intermediate host of Taenia Viridis is pig and wild boar. Humans are the only final host. People are infected by eating pork with cercaria venom…]

    "Ah," Liu Hong heaved out a sigh. Meanwhile, Sun Yuheng endured the sense of oppression crushing his heart, but his teeth were already slightly chattering.

    This picture of taeniasis was the most terrible and disgusting sight they saw in this bulletin board.

    The patient did not have any abnormal sensations at the beginning, but the eggs quietly propagated in the small intestine. The six hook-legged larvae then escaped, drilling into the wall of the small intestine, and reached the host's body through blood circulation or lymphatic system: subcutaneous tissue, muscle, brain, eye, neurilemma, bone…

    They relentlessly continue to develop into mature tapeworms. Only after occupying the patient's entire body will they start to act up. The patient's mental state will begin to become abnormal, and the skin begins to ulcerate. Strips of thick adult worms drilled out not only from the skin but also the eyes, mouth, ears…

    They were densely packed across the entire body. After one drilled out, then comes the other until all the nutrients of the host are exhausted. Then, the patient will die in excruciating pain.

    Looking at these pictures that even doctors couldn't bear to see, the bodies of several interns were either a little numb or had a slight chill tingling across their skin.

    Although they had been receiving all kinds of irregular knowledge in the past half month, their days had been a little comfortable. In their dorms, they were fed well and were properly sheltered, living like princes and princesses. They could learn general surgery, practice routine operations, and the jinmenkens were just dogs, after all.

    Now, suddenly, the bulletin board seemed to have brought them back to the nightmarish reality that began with the Malformed Banyans, sinking them into a deeper and deeper abyss.

    "There is nothing to fear. These kinds of diseases are not uncommon for us. The medical department has a lot of experience with treatment, and the mortality rate has fallen drastically." Zhou Jiaqiang comforted them and noticed that Wang Ruoxiang seemed relatively calmer. Brother Qiang looked at Gu Jun and asked, "What are you thinking right now? Don't need an expert professor?"

    Upon arriving in front of the bulletin board, Gu Jun had been silent the whole time. However, he did understand something more clearly.

    Cleft wart skin disease, orbital pseudotumor, systemic Rehder taeniasis. These were the ‘sources of stress' for doctors.

    Sometimes, the ignorant were fearless. For those who were clueless about medicine, they don't think that there was anything weird when they look at these diseases. They just think that these were horrible diseases.

    But for Professor Gu and even Brother Zhang Lin, they had learned and understood too much about the conventional field of medicine. They had established multiple ‘towers' of medical conjectures in the depths of their spirits. These ‘towers' had shaped their personality and will.

    These kinds of illnesses were still okay, but what about the Malformation Banyan Disease that had an inexplicable scratching reflex? What about other abnormal diseases that defied modern medicine and even conventional human wisdom?

    Their skyscrapers may collapse into a colossal ruin, which likely nothing would ever be reconstructed.

    As for people like them who had merely constructed small buildings, they were better able to clean up the ruins.

    Gu Jun thought that there must be some more direct reasoning that he couldn't understand yet. However, the Phecda Department must have had a painful experience before setting up the selection system as it was now. It will not requisition those old veterans until the last minute. If they were lost, it would not benefit the Phecda Department and will mess up the ordinary world as well.

    It was only the current situation that made the Phecda Department more frantic and urgent for manpower.

    "Let's go." Zhou Jiaqiang continued walkin. "I will bring you to report at the orthopaedics."

    Tian Zelun and Liu Hong hurriedly walked away. Sun Yuheng sighed and followed. Wang Ruoxiang was the next to move. Seeing that Gu Jun remained motionless, she softly uttered, "Let's go." Gu Jun nodded and caught up with the others.

    They took the elevator to the sixth floor. The higher the elevator proceeded, the louder the patient's painful screams were. The elevator seemed to be traversing a passageway leading to hell.

    Brother Qiang said that 624 patients had to undergo various preoperative examinations. Now, they were scheduled to be carried out across every floor. The entire medical department was being mobilised.

    When they arrived at the sixth floor and walked out of the elevator, they immediately saw a still-living patient for the first time in a crowded corridor. A thick stench filled the air. Each of these patients was affixed to a mobile stretcher bed. Their limbs were shackled to the bed, regardless of whether they were normal or malformed.

    At a glance, dozens of stretcher beds were placed on both sides of the long corridor. Various shapes of malformed limbs impacted the cognition of Gu Jun and the others.

    These patients' howls were more disturbing than the roar of a ferocious beast.

    "Come on. Be careful not to touch the patients." Zhou Jiaqiang walked with five people, and the desperate eyes of those patients all turned towards them.

    At this time, a male patient with malformed lower limbs saw someone among them. The wailing screams suddenly turned into crazed cries, "It's YOU, IT'S YOU!" His eyes were very muddy but full of fear, anger, panic. "IT'S YOU! IT'S YOU…"

    "Hmm?" Zhou Jiaqiang was stunned. Wang Ruoxiang and Sun Yuheng looked at each other and finally determined that the patient was indeed glaring at Gu Jun.

    Gu Jun was taken aback as well, but he maintained an expressionless facade and the turbulent feeling that appeared whenever visions appeared had resurfaced in his heart.

    There was a nurse over there yelling and running, "You all better get away! He appeared to be delirious. This is the transition phase before the third stage!"

    "I'M NOT CRAZY! I'M NOT CRAZY! IT'S YOU!" The patient violently pulled at the shackles restraining his limbs, and his face twisted with pain, desperately trying to get up to do something. The dangling sound of the stretcher bed reverberated noisily as he thrashed and writhed. "IT'S YOU! The thing inside the banyan tree… let me go… please, please let me…"

    Lymph is the fluid that flows through the lymphatic system, a system composed of lymph vessels (channels) and intervening lymph nodes whose function, like the venous system, is to return fluid from the tissues to the central circulation. Lymphatic reflux refers to when lymph flows back up the vessel, causing a burning sensation.

    A condition characterised by an excess of watery fluid accumulating in the cavities or tissues of the body

    Fibrous hyperplasia is a non neoplastic lesion of fibrous connective tissue. Neoplasm is a new and abnormal growth of tissue in a part of the body, especially as a characteristic of cancer.

    Sclerosis is the abnormal hardening of body tissue.