A teenage girl is critically ill in a Chinese hospital after attempting to commit suicide so that she could donate her liver to her dying father. Chen Jin, 14, swallowed a massive overdose two days before the Chinese new year on January 25 and doctors are still trying to save her. A nurse at the Wuxi People’s Hospital said “Her condition is stable, but she is not yet out of danger.”
The girl’s tragedy began when doctors diagnosed terminal liver cancer in her father in December. Her parents decided to shield their daughter from the truth for as long as possible. A month later Chen Jin discovered a note in her mother’s handbag and learnt that her father had only three months to live.
On January 23 the teenager left the hospital for home after visiting her father. Her mother stayed behind. When she reached the house at around midday the following day she found the door locked and bolted and she was unable to get in. She forced her way in through a rear window to find her daughter in her bedroom.
Cui Lan, 43, said: “I saw my daughter lying quite still as if she were dead with two empty bottles of sleeping pills beside her bed and a suicide note.” The note read: “Mum, I’m sorry I couldn’t stay with you any longer. Please give my liver to father after I die.” The girl was taken to hospital where doctors twice pumped her stomach. But some ten hours were believed to have passed since Chen Jin swallowed about 200 sleeping pills and the drugs had largely been absorbed into her body.
She remained on life support. In desperation the hospital decided on a blood transfusion — a procedure usually only used on adults. Finally, on January 28, the girl emerged from her coma. Doctors believed that she might be out of danger. Her family were not allowed into the intensive care unit to visit her but she even managed to write a note to her mother, saying: “Mum, I’m better now and I’ve even drawn two pictures! Dad, maybe tomorrow I can come to see you!”
Less than 48 hours later, Chen Jin again stopped breathing and doctors sought to revive her. A day later she again stopped breathing, prompting renewed frantic efforts to save her life. Since then the girl has drifted in and out of consciousness and doctors said that if she survives she will need more surgery because she fell asleep on top of an electric blanket and the heat resulted in serious damage to the backs of her legs and her heels.