‘Miracle survivor’ arrives in city

Xiang Weiyi is carried by her grandmother as she arrives at Xinhua Hospital on Monday, where she will receive more medical attention from local doctors. Photo: Xinhua

Known as the “miracle survivor” of the fatal Wenzhou bullet train collision last month, 2-year-old Xiang Weiyi will undergo another assessment by doctors today, this time at Shanghai’s Xinhua Hospital – the first step of further treatment for her severely injured leg that has since been spared from amputation by a series of back-to-back surgeries.

Donning a light blue dress with her left leg still wrapped in gauze, Xiang, who is not yet aware that her parents died in the July 23 incident, was in high spirits upon arriving in the city from Wenzhou on Monday, accompanied by her uncle and grandparents.

“She has been really looking forward to the Shanghai trip in the last few days and smiling a lot,” her uncle Xiang Yuyu, told the Global Times on Monday.
The last survivor of the tragedy, which claimed the lives of 40 people and injured more than 200 others, Xiang was discovered by rescue crews after being trapped inside a carriage for some 21 hours.

A team of doctors in Wenzhou have since managed to save her leg with five complicated surgeries that were successful in removing dead tissue, muscles and nerves, but doctors at the first-tier hospital in Yangpu district on Monday were uncertain whether she would retain full function of her leg in the future.
“We will work out a detailed plan after a comprehensive examination on her wounds is carried out,” Wu Hao, deputy president of Xinhua Hospital, told reporters at a press conference on Monday.

But he predicted that Xiang would require reconstructive surgery on her leg and psychological help, amongst a number of other treatments for her additional injuries from the crash, including damage to her lungs, liver and nervous system.

Zhao Li, an orthopedist at Xinhua Hospital in charge of Xiang, echoed on Monday that it was too early to say what result could be achieved through more treatment.

“Her muscles were seriously injured; the first step will be to close her leg wounds,” he told reporters at the press conference on Monday. “After that, she will need rehabilitation on her muscles and nervous system, and that will take time.”

Xiang came to the city on Monday after her uncle plead to the Ministry of Railways in an open letter last week, seeking her transfer to Shanghai, where he believed that she would have access to better medical attention and facilities.

Dr James Kasser, director of orthopedics for the Children’s Hospital of Boston at Harvard Medical School, was willing to help Xiang when contacted by the Ministry of Health, according to local media reporting.

The family put a plug on public donations after tallying a sum of 513,000 yuan ($80,131), money expected to pay for her treatments, her uncle said.

Global Times

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