The husband of a woman who gave birth prematurely after a freeway accident on Wednesday asked the public to pray for his now comatose wife, hoping she would regain consciousness and the family could be reunited.
The wife, Yeh Chen-yu (葉貞妤), was driving to work when her car was sideswiped by a truck on Freeway No. 1 on Wednesday. Yeh, seven months pregnant, was unconscious when rescuers pulled her out of the car, but she recovered long enough for doctors to safely deliver her baby before she lapsed into a coma.
According to an initial investigation by the third unit of the National Highway Police Bureau, Yeh was driving a silver Ford when her car was hit near the Nantun Interchange (南屯), causing the car to crash into the outer guardrail and overturn.
When rescuers arrived and cut open the door to the car, they said Yeh had no pulse and was not breathing. They took her immediately to the Veterans’ General Hospital in Greater Taichung, after taking precautionary measures, such as placing Yeh on her left side to make sure that the blood flow to the fetus would not be cut off.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed and kept up all the way to the hospital, and Yeh regained a pulse just as the ambulance arrived at the hospital.
Given that Yeh had intracerebral hemorrhage chest contusions and scored only three on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), doctors performed a Caesarean section to deliver the baby after obtaining the approval of Yeh’s husband, Nieh Tzu-hsiu (聶子修), an architect.
The GCS is a neurological scale to gauge a person’s state of consciousness after head injuries are sustained, with a score of three indicating deep unconsciousness and 14 meaning normal.
Police later found the truck driver, 44-year-old Liu Chen-hsiang (劉振相). Witnesses at the scene said Liu had continued driving after the accident.
Officers found Liu unloading the truck in Yunlin County’s Douliou City (斗六) and told him of the incident. Liu said he felt very sorry, they said.
Liu was taken to the Greater Taichung District Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday night and charged with offenses against public safety.
Prosecutors said that Liu’s crime was not severe enough to require extended detention. Liu was released yesterday after posting NT$60,000 bail.
Nieh and family members had expressed their dissatisfaction over the prosecutors’ decision, saying Yeh’s injuries would not have been as severe if Liu had stopped and helped after the crash.
Staying by Yeh’s side and murmuring words of encouragement, Nieh said he had posted pictures of Yeh’s wrecked car on Facebook, hoping netizens would also pray for her, that she would have the strength to recover and regain consciousness so the family could be whole once more.
Additional reporting by Tsai Shu-yuan and Yan Hung-chun
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff writer