An entry-level auditor at the Shanghai office of PricewaterhouseCoopers(PwC) died of acute cerebral meningitis, sparking public debate and media attention. Most of netizens believe that work fatigue contributed to the young lady’s death.
Pan Jie, 25, died on Sunday of acute cerebral meningitis, which is caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Symptoms include severe headache and fever.
“Based on her symptoms and her low white blood cell count, it’s reasonable to conclude that overwork led to a weakened immune system, which makes her more vulnerable to infections,”said Dr Wang Guisong, an expert in the neurosurgery department at Renji Hospital.
The statement was denied by a PwC Shanghai official in an interview with a TV station in Shanghai, yet Pan’s friends still believe overwork was partly to blame for her death.
Pan’s friend, Yu, said Pan had told her before she died that she had been working up to 18 hours a day and about 120 hours a week. One of Pan’s colleagues, a senior-level auditor at PwC, told Shanghai Daily 100-hour work weeks were common in recent months as it was peak auditing season.
They said Pan did well in school. She entered Shanghai Jiao Tong University at the age of 16 and completed two master’s degrees. PwC hired Pan in September. She worked hard and was looking forward to gaining experience at PwC.
Pan seemed to be aware something was wrong Before the tragedy. On March 31, Pan wrote on her microblog: “Whenever there’s a chance to take a break, a fever comes. My body, I am at a loss whether I should praise you for being understanding or just the opposite.”
One of the most striking comments on her microblog was a post about the death of an auditor from KPMG, another global auditing firm, this year.
“I can accept overtime. I can also accept out-of-town business trips. But on learning a young worker died from fatigue at kp (KPMG), I feel something has broken my bottom line to endure,” she wrote.
When Chinese youngsters are struggling for life, and working day and night to achieve their dreams, one thing should never be forgotten as Chairman Mao once said: The body is the capital of revolution(身體是革命的本錢).