Netflix’s ‘Eye of the Storm’ takes place in 2003 in a hospital in Taiwan following the outbreak of the SARS virus. More than a thousand people in the hospital, which includes the staff, the patients, and visitors, are trapped inside as fear and panic grip them. At first, the patients start to get impatient and are worried about being in close quarters with the unidentified infected ones. Soon, however, this fear passes on to the doctors and nurses who are worried about catching the virus themselves.
While the story follows the perspective of several people inside the hospital, two characters emerge as the heart of the story. Dr. Zheng Xia is a surgeon who wants to get out of the hospital by any means necessary, and Tai-He Ang is a young nurse dedicated to helping as many people as possible, no matter what. The film’s events take both of them through a very difficult path. Considering that the film is based on true events, you might wonder if Zheng Xia and Tai-He Ang are based on real people. Let’s find out.
Are Zheng Xia and Tai-He Ang Based on Real Doctors?
‘Eye of the Storm’ is based on the true story of the people inside the Heping Hospital in Taiwan. However, it views the events from a fictional lens. The characters in the movie are created by Liu Tsun-han, the writer of the film, to push the plot of the story. They were, however, inspired by real doctors and nurses who worked tirelessly to save lives.
One of the doctors who found himself in an unlikely position to rise to the occasion was Yang Chi-Hsien. During the quarantine, several doctors and nurses in the hospital refused to come out of their rooms and left the patients to their own devices. This created such a shortage of doctors that Yang, who was a psychiatry specialist and didn’t have as much knowledge of how to treat infectious diseases and other things, was called to the front lines. When he wondered why he was being called, his bosses told him no one else wanted to do the job.
Yang was sent to the B-wing of the hospital, where most of the infected patients were being treated by a staff that was sparse, overworked, and exhausted. Some of the staff refused to work their shifts for fear of catching the virus, leaving their coworkers so exhausted that they collapsed. They were so busy caring for the patients, whose numbers were increasing, that they couldn’t even eat properly. Still, Yang discovered they were not angry but happy he was there with them because “no one else was willing to come.”
“I suddenly felt a burst in energy, and the fear in my heart suddenly seemed to disappear. These nurses held the line in building B, holding SARS at bay and tending to the patients without regard for their own well-being. When I understood this, that there were people who would go to such lengths for others, it was like their confidence had rubbed off on me,” Yang said.
Through characters like Zheng Xia and Tai-He Ang, ‘Eye of the Storm’ shows different sides of the story. At first, Dr. Xia wants to leave the hospital. He is scared of getting infected and being away from his family. He, too, hides in a room, wanting to escape any situation that might put him in the same room as an infected person. By the end, however, he has a change of heart, especially when he sees other patients suffering and left to their own devices by the doctors and nurses who declare a strike.
In the same vein, we have Tai-He Ang, who is so dedicated to the job that he helps people not only when he is healthy but also when he is sick. The Netflix movie shines a light on the courage, dedication, and hard work of people like Xia and Tai-He. Even though they might be fictional, they represent the real frontline workers who put their lives on the line to help others.
Read More: Is Eye of the Storm Based on a True Story?