Associate Professor Shan Woo LIU

Medical Specialities: Emergency Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School.
Location: Brookline, MA, US

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Associate Professor Shan Woo LIU

Dr Wu Lien-Teh is Shan Liu's great grandfather.


I have always wanted to do public health and be a doctor. I grew up enjoying watching science shows with my father and hearing about how both my great grandfather and grandfather were doctors. My dad couldn't be a doctor because he did not like the sight of blood. But, it wasn't until I worked in Paraguay as an immunization volunteer that I knew for sure that it was a definite calling. I had the overwhelming sense of "This. This is what I want to do."

My great grandfather continues to inspire me today. While COVID mortality rates are overall very low, it is still was overwhelmingly scary to be on the front lines and see young people intubated. We hear of young, overall healthy doctors in the ICU, on cardiac bypass is frightening. And to think that Dr. Wu faced mortality rates of nearly 100% and yet he still stepped up, determined to control it. His legacy inspired me to control my fears and use my skills and training to try to help others.

In Boston, we are one of the hot spots in the United States. We peaked last week and while we had bad days of intubating a dozen patients, we never were like New York. The number of COVID ICU patients and stable COVID patients have continued to decline and thankfully we never reached surge capacity. We have enough protective gear. While the pneumonic plague was far deadlier disease, COVID-19 has changed the entire planet and killed far more people. We could learn a tremendous amount from other countries, particularly those in Asia who implemented policies that can be traced back to what Dr. Wu did to control the plague a century ago, particularly mask wearing and strict isolation/quarantine. I fear that ignoring such tactics such as public use of masks months ago has costs lives.


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