Hospital to help Fu Xuepeng, whose parents hand-pump air into his lungs

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 January, 2013, 4:22am

A local hospital has agreed to help a family who won overwhelming national sympathy when it was reported that the two parents had kept their paralysed son alive for seven years by taking turns to pump air into his lungs by hand.

Fu Minzu and Wang Lanqin of Gankeng village in Taizhou , Zhejiang , have endured a long, lonely and painful struggle to keep their son, Fu Xuepeng , alive after he was left paralysed from a car accident in March 2006 at the age of 23.

After their plight was reported by Zhejiang news portal jzol. many people were shocked and outraged to learn that the couple, in their 50s and 60s, had been taking turns squeezing a pump, attached to a self-made respirator machine, 18 times a minute - nearly 26,000 times a day - for most of the past seven years.

A proper machine would cost 100,000 yuan (HK$123,000), which the couple could not afford after spending more than 1 million yuan to treat their son after the accident.

Family members assembled the primitive machine and the couple said they have worn out six pumps from the constant squeezing.

"I don't know if I will have an opportunity in this life to repay my parents," Fu Xuepeng said during a recent visit by reporters.

Internet users started a campaign to raise money for the couple. A company has donated a breathing machine to a local hospital, while a doctor from Shanghai has travelled to the village to check Fu Xuepeng, who was admitted to a hospital in Taizhou city on Tuesday.

A relative once made the family a diesel-powered machine to help the son breathe and spare the couple tedious labour. The machine was noisy and shabby, but it worked.

However, the couple had to stop using it because the power use cost them 200 yuan a month. The story has become widely discussed in mainland social media platforms. Many people were outraged that the family had to endure such hardship for so long.

"Why did it take five years for them to get help?" said a netizen on the Sina microblog service.

"What about the plight of other tragic families who are not covered by the media?" another web user said. "How will they get help?"