Grandmother’s 3km barefoot run fails to save boy

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - Page 5

A grandmother in a remote mountainous area of Hualien County ran barefoot for about 3km carrying her injured seven-year-old grandson, but still could not get him to hospital in time to save him, media reports said on Tuesday.

Wu Chun-hua (吳春花), 59, lives with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and six grandchildren in Sioulin Township’s (秀林) Shuiyuan Village (水源). Wu looks after the grandchildren while their parents are at work.

On Monday, Wu found Chen Yen-hsin (陳豔鑫) lying on the floor of the house with his left arm covered in blood. She tried to stop the bleeding by wrapping the injured arm with a towel. Wu then lifted Chen onto her back, carried her two-year-old grandchild in one arm, grabbed the hand of the five-year-old and began running to the village center, the reports said.

“I didn’t dare to stop,” she was later quoted as saying.

Police said Wu had run for about 3km before she came across another villager and called for help. They were picked up and driven to the Hualien Tzu Chi Medical Center, where the doctors tried unsuccessfully for 50 minutes to resuscitate Chen.

The hospital said the boy had no blood pressure when he arrived at the emergency room. The doctors found two 5cm-wide wounds and a bone fracture on his left arm.

“It’s all my fault,” cried Wu, who has high blood pressure and heart problems.

She almost fainted when she learned that Chen had died.

“If I could’ve gotten there sooner, he might have not have died,” she said.

Wen Chung-hau (溫宗豪), an emergency rescue instructor at the Hualien County Firefighting Bureau, said that people who lose more than 30 percent of their blood could go into shock.

In the case of a child, constant blood loss for more than half an hour can be fatal, he said.

Moreover, if someone with a bone fracture is not handled properly, moving them might make the injury worse, Wen said.

Wu later told police that her family does not have a telephone at home and their only mode of transportation — a motorcycle — had a flat tire at the time.

She said Chen must have fallen from the top of a wardrobe and broken his arm.

Jumping from a wardrobe was one of Chen’s favorite games, his five-year-old brother said.