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Chinese man kept alive for five years with homemade ventilator

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 30th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In an astounding example of family loyalty and love, a Chinese man has been kept alive for the past five years with a homemade ventilator. His family must pump the contraption 18 times a minute, around the clock. If the mechanism stops for three minutes, he will die.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  Fu Xuepeng was only 25 years old when he collided with a car while riding his motorbike to a supermarket. Diagnosed with severe damage to his nervous system and has been paralyzed from the neck down. He has been unable to breathe unaided ever since.

Fu must rely on a ventilator with a breathing tube in his airway. After four months on breathing equipment in Taizhou First People's Hospital, his parents were forced to bring him home on account of the high medical expenses.

Despite receiving compensation from the driver, it cost much more per week to keep Fu on a medical ventilator.

His mother Wang Lanqin and father Fu Minzu were left with only one option; to remove him from hospital and try to care for him at home.

They bought a bag valve mask ventilator and have manually pumped lifesaving oxygen into his lungs by hand ever since.

Now 30 years old, the attached air ball must be squeezed at even intervals to manually pump oxygen into the body, squeezing the resuscitator bag 18 times per minute.

The family's only break is at night, when a home built DIY ventilator, crafted by Fu's younger brother, is used. This comprises an electric motor and a pushing pole, attaching the device to the bag valve mask.

To keep Fu, now, 30 alive, the attached air ball must be squeezed at even intervals to manually pump oxygen into the body. Fu's family take turns to squeeze the resuscitator bag 18 times per minute. As a result of such tireless work, their hands have now been deformed by constantly squeezing the device.

His parents, two sisters and brothers-in-law all take it in turns to squeeze the resuscitator bag 18 times per minute.

The high cost of electricity means they cannot use the ventilator all day, forcing them to continue their bed side vigils throughout the day.

There is a happy ending in store: after a blog about the family's heart-wrenching story was spotted by a Chinese company that makes ventilators. The company has now pledged to donate a ventilator to him and other well-wishers have set up a fund to raise money for him.

Government staff and doctors from the local hospital are also set to visit the family now that its plight has come to light.

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