Talking about the greatest love on earth…In a shabby house in a small village in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, 30-year-old Fu Xuepeng has been lying in bed since a car ran over his motorcycle 5 years ago. His entire body, neck and down, is paralyzed. After his family can no longer afford to keep him in the hospital, he was taken home. Unable to afford a ventilator, his parents picked up a BVM and started to bag air into his lungs 24/7 non-stop for the next 5 years.
The bag needs to be squeezed 18 times per minute. That’s 25,920 times per day and more than 800,000 times per month. And Fu’s father Fu Minzu and mother Yu Lanqin keep their bagging speed at 18 times per minute for 5 years, because their son would die if they stop for at most 3 minutes. Their hands grow malformed due to too much squeezing.
Their life is actually easier in recent years. Fu’s younger brother saw a TV program on how to DIY simple ventilators a few years ago. With a small generator, a governor and a push arm, the family managed to assemble a home-made ventilator. While the machine freed Fu’s parents from non-stop squeezing, it also came with expensive electricity bills. To save the 140-150 yuan bill every month, Fu’s parents only turn on the machine during sleeping time, and still bag air manually during the day.
This is not the first story this year about poor Chinese using home-made medical devices to maintain life (and it’s only January). Earlier this month, a man named Hu Songwen from Nantong, Jiangsu province, was reported to keep himself alive for 13 years with a home-made dialysis machine.
The two stories really highlighted China’s problem with healthcare for the poor. The Chinese government has been pushing universal healthcare for many years now. But due to the country’s large population and the lack of proper infrastructures, especially in rural areas, there are still vast troops of poor people that are either not covered or only covered for the most basic. Even in China’s better-developed big cities, most working-class families cannot afford to get sick.
The only good news is that the Chinese people are always willing to help. The story of Fu and his incredible parents have been making waves on Sina Weibo, China’s leading microblogging service. Numerous charity organizations and Weibo celebrities have called for donations to Fu’s family. For example, famous investor 薛蛮子 was able to collect more than RMB 100k donations within less than 10 hours. At least we know now that Fu’s family has a new hope.
[Pictures from Chinanews.com]