Winter Olympics: Thank-you letters pour into Olympic Village polyclinic

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As the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games came to a close on Sunday, gratitude from athletes, coaches and delegation officials poured into the polyclinic in the Yanqing Olympic and Paralympic Village for the medical services it provided.

“To Dr. Lee and Dr. Liu: After acupuncture, I always felt great. It felt like energy was flowing through my entire body, felt energised and more vitality, calm and relaxed all at the same time! Thank you very much for this wonderful experience and fantastic treatment,” an athlete wrote in a letter to Li Shuming, a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, and his colleague.

Li’s patients in the village included a national Olympic delegation chief, who had suffered from severe pain in his lower back and legs. After the first round of acupuncture therapy, his pain eased immediately and almost disappeared after three rounds of therapy.

The next time the head officer visited Li, he brought two of his fellow delegation members to the polyclinic. He said they also suffered from pain and wanted to be treated with acupuncture therapy, Li said.

The polyclinic was led by Xuanwu Hospital under the Capital Medical University, with 193 staff coming from the Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing Anzhen Hospital, Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, the Peking University Hospital of Stomatology, the China Rehabilitation Research Center and the Beijing Emergency Medical Center.

In addition to letters and notes, words were written on stickers or on packing cartons to show appreciation. Medical staff began referring to the pileup of cartons bearing thank-you messages as “the Olympic friendship tower.”

During the Spring Festival, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) official visited the clinic with an acute lower back pain. The physiotherapy team in the clinic performed massage therapy combined with microwave treatment. After several rounds of therapy, the patient’s symptoms were significantly relieved, with spinal motion returning to normal.

“This place is a real joy. Too great not to be remembered and too wonderful to be forgotten. Thank you Beijing!” the IOC official wrote.

Pharmacy personnel also contributed significantly to the smooth operations of the clinic, carrying out tasks such as printing storage location labels in both Chinese and English, providing manuals of drug names, dosage forms, specifications and individual minimum doses, and streamlining medicine collection procedures for delegation doctors, reports Xinhua.

The team also designed instructional stickers to label drug packets, making it much easier for the patients to understand how to take their medicine and what they should pay attention to.

IOC pharmacist Mark Stuart was impressed by the pharmacy team’s drug management. He wrote, “To the amazing Beijing 2022 pharmacy team. Thank you for your remarkable work to keep the athletes of the world safe and healthy.”

As well as medical services, the polyclinic also played a part in the daily life of the village. The nursing reception desk became an information hub, as visitors often came in with questions such as where they could take a nucleic acid test, where the organizing committee was located, and how to take a taxi.

The desk prepared maps, bandages, heating pads, sanitizing alcohol wipes and other handy supplies for visitors, who in return sent little gifts such as Olympic badges, or said “Hu nian da ji,” the Chinese for “Good luck in the Year of the Tiger” to show their appreciation.

During the Winter Olympics, the Yanqing Olympic and Paralympic Village hosted over 1,200 athletes and officials from nearly 90 countries and regions. During the Winter Paralympics, it will host about 500 athletes and officials.

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