Sun, Feb 08, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Chinese girl tried to kill herself to give liver to father

THE GUARDIAN , BEIJING

China has been gripped by the fate of a 14-year-old girl who tried to kill herself so she could donate her liver to her dying father.

The story of Chen Jin (陳妗), who lay in a critical condition for almost two weeks after attempting to sacrifice herself for her parent, has touched hearts across the country. Donations have flooded in to pay the family’s large medical bills and wellwishers have even offered to give the father their own livers.

On Friday the hospital in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, announced that her life was out of danger. But it said that a transplant could not save her terminally ill father.

“She loves her dad more than herself,” said the teenager’s mother, who said her husband had been diagnosed with liver cancer last month and was told that he had only three months to live.

The couple decided to keep the news from their daughter for as long as possible. But Jin came across a medical letter last month explaining the extent of her father’s condition. She waited until her mother was at the hospital and then tried to kill herself.

Her mother returned home and found the house locked. She forced her way in through a window.

“I saw my daughter lying quite still, as if she were dead, with two empty bottles of pills beside her bed and a suicide note,” Cui Lan, 43, told Nanjing’s Modern Express newspaper.

The note read: “Mum, I am sorry that I could not be with you any more. Please give my liver to my father after I die.”

Jin was rushed to hospital where doctors pumped her stomach twice and gave her a blood transfusion. For days her mother tried to hide the truth from her husband, telling him their daughter could not visit him because she was unwell or busy visiting relatives. In fact, she was in the intensive care unit of the same hospital.

Shen Nanping (沈南平), director of the children’s emergency department in Wuxi people’s hospital, said it was a miracle her life had been saved, although her thinking and memory had not fully recovered.

He warned it would take several weeks before the full effects of her suicide attempt could be determined. She was likely to need further surgery because she fell unconscious on an electric blanket and the prolonged heat damaged her legs.

The family have had to pay hundreds of thousands of yuan to treat father and daughter. But Cui said yesterday that wellwishers had covered all their bills and she would donate any excess to other needy families.

Modern Express said many people had phoned the paper to offer to donate their organs. Wang Weidong, the doctor treating the father, said a liver transplant could not save him because the cancer had already spread.

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