The medical profession employs some of the hardest-working people on the planet, but one doctor's tragic death has shown just how much they need a break like the rest of us.

Forty-three-year-old Dr Zhao Bianxiang has reportedly died of a stroke after she worked for 18 hours non-stop at a hospital in China.

Dr Zhao was photographed in a hospital bed of a ward of the hospital she worked for as her elderly parents and colleagues visited her for the last time.

Dr Zhao, from Shanxi Province, is said to have collapsed in her patient's ward at midday on 29 December before she was rushed for emergency treatment.

Sadly she was pronounced dead early the following morning after her colleagues failed to save her life, local media sources have reported.

According to Shanxi Evening News, Dr Zhao worked at the Department of Respiratory Care at the Yuci District Hospital in Jinzhong.

A colleague of the doctor told the newspaper that Dr Zhao started work at 6pm on 28 December and finished seeing outpatients at around midnight before checking the hospital wards.

At the time she passed out at noon on 29 December, while checking a patient on a ward, she had not had any breaks during her shift at all.

"In winter, the departments of paediatrics and respiratory care have the most patients," Dr Zhao's colleague said.

"Often times, doctors couldn't finish work on time because they are too busy. In addition, the Department of Respiratory Care had some extra tasks recently.

"Dr Zhao was really too tired."

Dr Zhao's colleagues quickly took her to the intensive care unit for treatment after her heart rate suddenly dropped.

Experts were even called in from the provincial capital of Taiyuan in a desperate attempt to save Dr. Zhao.

Another colleague of Dr Zhao described her as a 'workaholic' who never failed to help colleagues out even if she was off duty. Devastating.

"No matter if she was on or not, as long as someone asked her for help, she never declined," said the colleague.

Dr Zhao died at 7.16am on 30 December after her colleagues tried to resuscitate her for 20 hours.

Doctors found that she died after suffering a subarachnoid haemorrhage. According to the NHS, this is an rare type of stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain.

Recent reports from China suggest that the country has now overtaken Japan as the state with the highest number of deaths caused by over-work.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency has reported that almost 600,000 Chinese workers are believed to die from 'exhaustion' each year.

In the first seven months of last year, 13 doctors in China reportedly died at work while working long shifts, according to the Chinese medical journal Chinese Circulation Journal.

Featured Image Credit: AsiaWire

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