A single mother in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Sanchong District (三重) on Tuesday evening committed suicide and ended the life of her daughter, who had suffered from a rare metabolic disorder.
Lin ended their lives by burning charcoal in a sealed room in her apartment, a police report said. The two died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
A family member was quoted as saying that it had been difficult for Lin for the past six years as she struggled to make ends meet while taking care of her daughter, who was diagnosed at birth with the rare metabolic disorder aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase deficiency (AADC).
Due to the lack of a key enzyme, patients with AADC suffer from motor coordination dysfunction, abnormal eye movement, autonomic symptoms, neurological impairments and disability in mental development.
Lin had hired an Indonesian caretaker to help look after her daughter.
However, the medical bills and household care for her daughter amounted to NT$100,000 a month, and despite working very hard, she was burdened with debt, the family member said.
The police report said Lin had a serious argument with her live-in boyfriend on Tuesday night, and shortly afterward, he packed his belongings and moved out.
Lin later gave NT$10,000 to the caretaker and told her to go buy some things for herself, the report said. When the caretaker returned home, she found the apartment locked and contacted the landlady, who called the police to investigate. Lin and her daughter were found inside amid burned charcoal residue and were pronounced dead after being rushed to hospital.
Sanchong District Office Social Services director Chen Jui-hsin (陳睿炘) said Lin received a monthly subsidy of NT$7,900 for low and medium-income families with disabled children.
Two parents, who told their stories in Rock Me to the Moon (一首搖滾上月球), a recent documentary about children with rare diseases and their parents, were saddened by the news and said it could have been prevented.
“Parents of children with rare disorders should not be reticent and fearful. It is important to let other people know about the difficulties they are dealing with,” said one of the parents, surnamed Wu (巫).
“At first, I could not accept that my child had a rare disorder. We faced tremendous financial pressure and disparaging remarks by other people. It was only when my friends lent their sympathetic ears that I had an emotional outlet to relieve the frustrations,” she said.
The other parent, surnamed Lee (李), said that parents of children with rare disorders need more emotional support from people around them.
Additional reporting by Lai Hsiao-tung and Chung Li-hua