Life matters, be sure to enjoy the fireworks

Each episode has its own theme and perspective of the domestic health-care system. It explores the emotional world of mental patients,
Ti Gong

The documentary crew of the second season of “Life Matters” has received large amounts of critical attention.

The second season of “Life Matters”, a highly acclaimed documentary series about Chinese patients and medical staff fighting varied diseases, will air on Dragon TV later this year.

The first season went on the air in 2016, the series scored 9.6 out of 10 on the film and TV review website Douban.

According to director Fan Shiguang, of the Shanghai Media Group, it took them one and a half years to shoot the second season at 10 or so hospitals in Shanghai and the neighboring Jiangsu Province.

More than 200 heartwarming stories were filmed.

Each episode has its own theme and perspective of the domestic health-care system. It explores the emotional world of mental patients, and it also seeks to arouse public awareness of the increasing number of Alzheimer’s disease and pneumoconiosis — a lung disease — patients in China.

The series also provides an insight into the high-pressure work of medical staff and the touching emotions of ordinary people when they face difficulties in life.

The first episode of the series, titled “Fireworks”, was previewed at a media screening on August 29 in Shanghai.

In this episode, stories of several lovely children suffering cancer are told.

Cai Xuan’an, an end-stage cancer patient, showed his kindness and optimism despite pain.

After the boy’s death, his corneas were donated to a blind kid who had been waiting 10 years for a chance to see again.

Gao Yunfei, president of the Shanghai Media Group, says that although life is short, it can be as brilliant as fireworks.

“This episode is about the most beautiful emotions of human beings,” Gao says.

“The little patients impressed us with their strong desire to live, and the patients’ families also taught us a lesson of love, perseverance and devotion.”

Media worker Lillian Yang says that compared with the patients in the series, she is grateful for what life has given her.

“All the challenges in my life actually mean nothing compared to fatal diseases,” Yang says.

“The series made me realize how important it is to cherish and care for my family and do something good for society.”

For the first time, the series points its lens at mental patients. According to Qin Bo, co-director of the series, they hope to change widespread prejudice against patients who suffer mental diseases.

“Many of them feel ashamed of their problems,” Qin says. “They strongly need emotional support from their families.”

Ti Gong

A scene from Episode 1 “Fireworks,” in which cancer patient Wang Sirong (right) talks with her mother. They are still optimistic about life.

Moved to tears

The series received support from many local hospitals. The first season moved many viewers to tears with its touching stories.

In one episode from the first season, a 26-year-old woman who chose to go ahead with her pregnancy despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer. She also recorded her best wishes and love for the baby in 18 video clips, to be given as a birthday present each year.

Then there was the kindness of a dying patient who donated his organs to three seriously ill patients, so that they managed to spend the Mid-Autumn Festival with their families.

Many Netizens highly praised the series of its sincerity” and its strong healing power of love. Netizen “24City” says that the series depicts both the strength and the fragilkity of life.

It makes him realize that life is not easy and medicine is not flawless. He says he will give physicians more respect and trust.

During the filming of one episode in the first season, Qin was shooting a surgery when the patient’s blood sprayed onto his face. But he continued filming without moving an inch.

Later Qin and his colleague registered with the Red Cross to donate their organs when they die.

Huang Hong, an official from the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission, says the documentary series aims to offer viewers an insight into the efforts and the real working environment of medical staff.

“Physicians are not almighty,” Huang says. “The series will improve people’s understanding about their work and give them more trust.”

Over the past years, documentaries set against the backdrop of hospitals have sparked increasing interest.

Other popular productions include “The Story in ER”, filmed in the emergency room of Shanghai No. 6 People’s Hospital, and “This Is Life”, a series of stories about giving birth.

It is likely the latest series of “Life Matters” will continue to improve mutual understanding between physicians and patients and help lead to more positive relationships in the health industry.

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