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2 Thallium Poisoned Students to Be Discharged from Hospital
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Two of the three university students who a classmate poisoned with thallium in east China last month will be discharged from a Beijing hospital soon, doctors said on Thursday.


After a month's treatment, there are no longer any traces of thallium in the blood of the two students, surnamed Li and Shi, and the thallium contained in their urine has dropped from 5,660 microgram/liter and 7,143 microgram/liter to 18.2 microgram/liter and 40.4 microgram/liter, said Hao Fengtong, a physician at Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, where the two students are being treated.


"There is no need for them to stay in hospital any longer according to the clinical data. They can recuperate at home now," Hao said.


The two students can walk, read, write, and take care of themselves. The one who lost his hair can see it growing back. The two said they felt much better now, only a little bit numb in their fingers and toes, which doctors said were not sequelae.


Sources with the hospital said the two could leave hospital as early as next Tuesday.


But another poisoned student, surnamed Niu, is still being treated at the Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, a doctor said on Thursday.


"He comes to the hospital every morning to receive an injection and leaves about noon, because his home is in the city and he prefers staying at home," a doctor who declined to give her name told Xinhua News Agency on the phone Thursday evening.


"I cannot say when he will be discharged from hospital but he is recovering well," she said.


The three are from the Chinese University of Mining & Technology in Xuzhou in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Their classmate, surnamed Chang, poisoned them with thallium bought illegally from a chemical plant in southwest Sichuan Province on May 22.


Chang, who has been arrested, confessed that he poisoned them on May 29 at the campus canteen out of deep resentment because he felt they had isolated him.


A 29-year-old suspect surnamed Chen from Sichuan, who allegedly sold 250 grams of thallium to Chang, has been captured in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou by Xuzhou police.


Thallium, a highly toxic metal, can damage the nerves and kidneys and lead to hair loss.


In another case in 1994, a chemistry student at the prestigious Tsinghua University became seriously ill after being mysteriously poisoned with thallium.


The victim, Zhu Ling, was paralyzed and nearly lost her eyesight and ability to speak.


(Xinhua News Agency July 13, 2007)

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