Tue, Jun 25, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Seven-year-old boy in miraculous recovery following Puyuma train derailment
普悠瑪事故後重生 謝小弟盼九月返校園

Hsieh Pei-po, right, severely injured in last year’s Puyuma Express train derailment, is pictured with his mother Hsu Mei-chen while attending a follow-up appointment on Wednesday at Lotung Bo-Ai Hospital in Yilan County.

Photo: CNA

At 4:49pm on Oct. 21, Puyuma Express No. 6432, operated by Taiwan Railways Administration, careered off the tracks while navigating a bend at high speed outside Sinma Train Station in Yilan County. The major derailment caused 18 deaths and left more than 200 people injured. Hsieh Pei-po, then seven years old, was one of the passengers, returning to Taitung with his family after attending a wedding in northern Taiwan. Hsieh sustained serious injuries to his skull and brain and fell into a coma. For a time, doctors thought Hsieh’s chances of survival were extremely slim.

After receiving emergency treatment at Lotung Bo-Ai Hospital, Hsieh’s condition worsened, and he ascended the Pediatric Glasgow Coma Scale to level 7 (severe). The scale measures the level of consciousness in a brain injury patient on a scale of 1 to 15, the lower the number the more severe the condition. Later Hsieh was transferred between several hospitals in Taipei for further treatment, and in February this year finally emerged from the coma. Hsieh gradually regained consciousness and the ability to hold a basic conversation. He is now able to support himself without needing assistance, and can walk slowly under his own steam.

With his recovery making slow but steady progress, Hsieh’s mother Hsu Mei-chen took her son to Lotung Bo-Ai Hospital last week for a follow-up appointment and cognitive assessment. Before the appointment, Hsu had been hopeful that the metal staples inserted into Hsieh’s skull during emergency treatment would be removed.

While interacting with medical personnel and reporters, Hsieh was animated, cheery despite his condition and well-mannered, enthusiastically greeting everyone he was introduced to. He also periodically struck dashing poses, framing his face with his hands, sang songs and told his mother that he loved her. Hsieh still needs to undergo further brain surgery: when asked about this, he replied that he was not scared.

Hsu says her son’s condition is improving all the time, but there is still much progress to be made. At present, Hsieh is only able to emulate other people’s speech, and doctors say there is still room for improvement. To give Hsieh more stimuli, and to increase his chances of recovery, the plan is to reintroduce Hsieh to school in September, after the staples are removed. Doctors hope the encouragement provided by interacting and conversing with classmates, coupled with ongoing outpatient rehabilitation, will lead to further progress in Hsieh’s recovery.

Talking to reporters after examining Hsieh, Tu Chao-wei, an attending physician at the hospital’s Department of Neurosurgery, said that when Hsieh initially underwent emergency treatment there was build up of fluid on his brain, in addition to bleeding. These fluids have now been drained away, Tu says, and Hsieh’s bones are continuing to mend. Tu adds that Hsieh’s overall recovery is going well, and confirmed that the next step will be to schedule an operation to remove the metal staples from Hsieh’s skull.

(Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times)




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