Media interest has been sparked by the remarkable case of Liu Hairuo. It was on September 6 this year that Beijing’s Xuanwu Hospital was able to make the surprise announcement that she was making a good recovery. Since then, many seriously ill patients unable to find a cure in Taiwan have turned their attention to the mainland in a desperate search for a treatment.
Hong Kong's Phoenix TV hostess Liu Hairuo was seriously injured in a major British train accident on May 10, 2002. She suffered multiple fractures to her ribs and sustained damage to her skull, liver, lungs and vertebrae.
She was taken to the Royal Free Hospital in London where she underwent surgery on four occasions. Yet she remained in a coma relying on life-support machines. At one point it was even reported that she was brain dead.
However on June 8 she entered Beijing’s Xuanwu Hospital for treatment and it was there that a miracle is said to have occurred. Following treatment with a combination of traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine, Liu not only woke up but she went on to write, to read and even to walk again.
Reports of Liu’s remarkable recovery have attracted wide attention among Taiwan residents according to the Singapore-based Lianhe Zaobao. Now they are dropping any outmoded ideas that the standard of medicine practiced on the mainland might be lagging behind what is available on Taiwan.
Take the story of a thirty-year-old woman also called Liu. She is employed as a member of ground staff by an airline company in Taiwan. For years she has suffered with hearing problems. At first only one ear was affected but earlier this year her other ear started to deteriorate. She visited all the hospitals in Taiwan but couldn’t find a cure. Deeply worried at the prospect of losing her hearing she has been encouraged to think of going to the mainland by the reports of Liu Hiaruo’s recovery.
Her view is that if Beijing’s Xuanwu Hospital could save a ‘brain-dead’ patient like Liu Hairuo, it could surely help with her hearing problem. So she has decided to come to the mainland for treatment. This will give her access to specialized, traditional Chinese medicines like ‘Angong Bezoar’ which seemed to work so well for Liu Hairuo as part of her treatment.
It has been reported that in 2001 there were more than 6,000 patients waiting for organ transplants in Taiwan. This was a year in which organs only became available for transplant from 93 donors. Such patients have urgent needs, so more and more have chosen to come to the mainland this year to receive life-saving operations like kidney and liver transplants. So Liu Hairuo’s case has been instrumental in encouraging Taiwan residents to start to trust the mainland doctors.
The ‘Angong Bezoar’ pill, which featured in Liu Hairuo’s cure, has aroused most interest in Taiwan. It is produced from bezoars, rhinoceros horn, musk and rare medicinal herbs. However since medicines from the mainland cannot be traded legally in Taiwan, many residents there have made trips to the mainland to obtain a supply. Others have asked businessmen visiting the mainland to bring some back for them.
Those in the know say that the black market price of ‘Angong Bezoar’ has been going through the roof. Apparently a single pill may now fetch NT$1,000 (new Taiwan dollar).
(china.org.cn by Zheng Guihong November 25, 2002)