Chinese Woman Performs Operation On Herself

Wu Yuanbi, a 53-year-old woman, from Chongqing, China, has recently performed operation on herself, In what sounds like an online surgical technology class gone awry, is actually a despairing depiction of the state of medical provisions for those in rural China….

Wu, who works as a migrant worker, has been suffering from a persistent condition known as Budd-Chiari syndrome, for the last 13 years. This causes her stomach to slowly fill up with large quantities of fluid, rendering her unable to work and making it difficult to perform even the most simple tasks. Back in 2002, Wu and her family used all their life savings to pay for a medical procedure in which doctors removed 25 liters of fluid from her stomach. Unfortunately, a relapse of the condition followed, and the woman found herself in need of a second surgery. However, she and her family were too poor to pay the 50,000 yuan ($7,686) fee, so Wu Yuanbi was forced to do something really shocking.

One day, after her husband, Cao Yunhui, left for work, the woman slit her stomach open with a kitchen knife, frantic to relieve the pressure that had built up inside. She had to bear unbearable pain for several hours, until her husband came home and found her lying in a pool of yellow fluid and intestines. She was at once rushed to the hospital with a 10 cm-long cut across her stomach, and saved by the medical staff. Wu later said “If I had passed away, I would have at least spared my family the trouble of looking after me.”

After all the media coverage, Wu Yuanbi is at present being treated free of charge, at a hospital in Chongqing, but who knows what will happen the next time fluid builds up in her stomach. Chinese authorities say many rural families go penniless after this kind of expensive surgical procedures, simply because they don’t want to spend money on cheap insurance. But, according to Wu’s husband, this wasn’t an choice for them because government insurance simply didn’t cover the procedure his wife needed.

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