After her case was reported by media, Wu Yuanbi was hospitalized again and she does not need to worry about the 50,000 RMB of medical charge any more.
53 years old migrant woman Wu Yuanbi performed surgery on herself because she could not afford the medical charge of about RMB 50,000. On May 8 she cut into her abdomen with a kitchen knife to release ascites that had built up. After her case widely reported, she was finally hospitalized and receives professional treatment. She died on June 2.
June 4, 2011, Chongqing - “After this cut,if I am cured, my family will not be burden on any more; if I die,my family will be relieved of a lot of misery,too.” 53-year old migrant woman Wu Yuanbi said to herself again and again before using a kitchen knife to operate on herself on May 8,2011.
Wu Yuanbi (Chinese:吴远碧) and her husband Cao Yunhui (Chinese:曹云辉) came from rural area and rent a 16 square meters room in Jiulongpo District of Chongqing municipality in Southwestern China. They moved to the prosperous Chongqing 22 years ago for better paid jobs. Cao Yunhui works as a Bangbang or carrier and Wu Yuanbi as a vegetables seller. Their lives were very hard but “happy and full of hope”, but several years after they moved to Chongqing, the abdomen of Wu Yuanbi grew day by day and in August of 1998, she was diagnosed as Budd–Chiari syndrome, which is the clinical picture caused by occlusion of the hepatic veins. The disease presents with the classical triad of abdominal pain, ascites and hepatomegaly. In 2002, they saved up all their money and so she could be treated. Thanks to that operation 25 liters of fluid were removed from her belly. But since the root cause of the disease was not eradicated, her belly grew again little by little. By the end of 2010, her belly had grown to so large as a drum again. When told that another surgery would cost them 50,000 RMB, the family of Wu Yuanbi did not know what to do. They had by far less money than that figure.
On Evening May 8, Wu Yuanbi couldn't stand the pain anymore. She thought over and over and decided to bet on her fate: She cut into her abdomen with a kitchen knife and did the surgery for herself. Totally alone she went through her suffering, knowing that she could die. The ascites were released, but she fell into a coma. Her husband was at work at that time.
"I dared not to cut my belly at first, but I had no choice and decided to bet my fate. I know I could die, but even then I would save my family a lot of missery", she said afterwards.
Several hours later her husband Cao Yunhui arrived and found his wife on her bed with a 10 cm long cut wound in her abdomen. The woman was laying in a puddle of yellow fluid. Her intestines were protruding from her abdomen. She was taken to the hospital and survived.
Just after she was saved from the self surgery, she was released from the hospital because they had no money for being hospitalized for longer time.
After her case was widely reported, local officials require that great efforts be done to save her life. Wu Yuanbi was taken to hospital again, and it is free. And many people begin to donate for her. The medical charge of 50,000 RMB will not be a problem any more.
“If this time her disease can be cured once and for all, it pays off that Wu Yuanbi cut into her abdomen by herself. It can be said that she gets good out of misfortune." one of her neighbors said.
But on the morning of June 2nd, the situation of Wu Yuanbi suddenly deteriorated, and she fell into a coma and was sent to ICU ward. The efforts of the hospitals were in vain. At around 9:48pm, Wu Yuanbi died.
The tragic story of Wu Yuanbi is a special and extreme case for all those migrant workers in China who fell into desperation due to illness. Luckily her story was widely reported among the media when she cut into her belly and the typical path was triggered: media coverage --> attention paid by leaders --> help comes finally. She was later received by a hospital free of charge. Some Chinese hope her story could arouse wide discussion and deep consideration into the root cause.