Sat, Apr 18, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Plane crash survivor celebrates life

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Seventy-two-year-old Liu Chao-hui, right, a survivor of the TransAsia Airways Flight GE235 crash in Taipei in February, receives a bouquet from Taipei Medical University Hospital superintendent Chen Ray-jade in Taipei yesterday to celebrate Liu’s “rebirth” as he is released from the hospital.

Photo: CNA

Few people have the chance of asking themselves what they want to do with their lives after surviving a plane crash, but 72-year-old Liu Chao-hui (劉兆輝), one of the survivors of the TransAsia Airways crash in February, has decided to resume his medical career as well as join a chorus after being discharged from hospital yesterday.

Yesterday marked the 73rd day since Flight GE235, carrying 53 passengers and five crew members, plunged into the Keelung River (基隆河) in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) shortly after taking off on Feb. 4, killing 43 people on board.

Liu was one of two injured passengers who were rushed to Taipei Medical University Hospital for emergency treatment.

The hospital held a press conference yesterday to celebrate Liu’s second chance at life.

Recounting his fight for survival, Liu said he had come close to death four times in the past 73 days.

“The first time was when I survived the crash, followed by another near-death experience when I was drowning inside the crashed, water-logged cabin, until members of the search-and-rescue team found me and pulled me out,” Liu said.

Liu said the third time was when he suffered an aortic rupture leading to massive bleeding after being rushed to the hospital, where doctors managed to save his life with timely surgery.

The close brushes with death did not stop there, Liu said.

“After I was admitted into the intensive care unit, I came down with severe pneumonia that nearly killed me, but once again, I beat the odds and survived,” he said.

Tsao Nai-wen (曹乃文), an attending physician in the hospital’s cardiovascular surgery division, said that when Liu arrived at the hospital’s emergency room, he had an aortic rupture, rib and pelvis fractures, a lung contusion and massive bleeding in the abdominal cavity.

“The injuries sent his temperature dangerously low and he went into hemorrhagic shock... But he is recovering well and is able to walk with the help of assistive devices,” Tsao said.

Hospital superintendent Chen Ray-jade (陳瑞杰) said the Liu’s injuries reached 43 on the injury severity score scale — on a scale of zero to 75, with 75 being the worst — and he had an expected survival score of just 45 percent.

Asked what he plans to do next, Liu said he would continue his practice as an obstetrician in Kinmen — where he has been for nearly five decades — for as long as his patients need him.

He said he also plans to join a chorus.

“I have always enjoyed classical music, especially music by Beethoven and Mozart. So I have decided to join the Kinmen County choir and bring soothing music to every corner of the world,” he said.

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