In the burn unit of Jishuitan Hospital, three survivors of the Falun Gong suicide incident late last month were fast asleep after undergoing skin-graft operations Thursday.
Hao Huijun, her 19-year-old daughter Chen Guo and a 12-year-old girl, Liu Siying, whose mother died on January 23 when they set themselves on fire in Tian’anmen Square, are covered in thick bandages. Liu Siying is the only victim who is able to open one of her eyes.
Wang Jindong, another survivor and the organizer of the self-immolation, has been transferred to a police hospital. Doctors at the hospital said he is nearly recovered after five days of treatment.
In the days since the women were sent to Jishuitan on January 23, a team of leading burn specialists has successfully carried out operations to remove dead skin from the wounds and graft normal skin from the women’s legs to the most severely burned areas.
The hospital, which houses China’s preeminent burn unit, has designated a special room and arranged for comprehensive monitoring and nursing care for the survivors. The cost of their treatment, so far amounting to 236,000 yuan (US$28,540), has been covered by the government.
Li Chi, an expert on treating burns, said that Chen Guo was injured most seriously. “She was diagnosed with burns over 80 percent of her body, half of which are third-degree burns. Fourth-degree burns were on her face and hands,” he said.
“She went into shock when she was sent in, and she suffered from blood and albumen in the urine as well as bleeding in the alimentary canal. We immediately started emergency treatment,” Li said.
In the course of that treatment, it was determined that Chen Guo has AB negative blood, a rare blood type the blood bank of the hospital had only in limited supply. The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Health was contacted and immediately transferred 10,000 milliliters of blood plasma and several thousand milliliters of blood to the hospital.
Tracheotomies were performed on all of the survivors to aid in their breathing. Blood transfusions and other shock-prevention treatment helped each of the survivors through the critical period of the first 48 hours following the incident.
Li said that the 12-year-old girl had burns over 40 percent of her body, much of them concentrated on her face and hands, noting that “her quality of life will be poor for she will have difficulties eating, urinating and defecating.”
Hao Huijun had burns over 90 percent of her body, but few of which were third-degree or worse. Wang Jindong had burns over 15 percent of his body.
On January 26, the four survivors underwent skin debriding and skin grafts. The graft operations performed on the legs of Chen Guo and Hao Huijun employed a new, national award-winning technology invented by Jishuitan Hospital.
According to Li Chi, the three survivors will undergo many more debriding and graft operations -- at least one or two a week.
“They are in stable condition and clear-minded, but they are still critical,” Li said, adding that “the overall survival rate of burn patients in our hospital is 80 percent, more than anywhere in the world.”
In an interview with Xinhua, Shen Zuyao, head of the burn ward, said, “Being doctors, we will do everything necessary to save these survivors.”