Desperate Father Teaches Himself TCM to Treat Dying Daughter


From NetEase:

Girl Unable to Afford Surgery, Father Teaches Himself Compendium of Materia Medica to Treat Daughter With Fumes

2014 November 25th, Yunnan province Wenshan county. With a saw, some wood, a copy of the Compendium of Materia Medica, and a pile of herbal medicine picked from the mountains, a group of photos were posted online this morning of a father, Wei Shufu, using such simple tools to build in his home an outdoor herbal medicine bed, using fumes from burning herbal medicine to treat his 6-year-old daughter afflicted with β-thalassemias (major). Despite not knowing whether or not this treatment method introduced to him by a kind-hearted hospital patient actually has any effect, but in the face of being unable to pay the hospital the 300,000 yuan required for a bone marrow transplant, Wei Shufu nonetheless wanted to give it a try, hoping for his daughter to recover as quickly as possible, so she can go to school like other normal children.


At 34 years old this year, Wei Shufu is a villager of the Yunnan Wenshan Zhuang and Miao autonomous prefecture. Husband and wife are both farmers and together with their children’s paternal grandparents, they live as a family of six in a brick and wooden house no larger than 60 square meters. In 2013 October, his daughter Wei Jinqiu’s skin suddenly completely went pale, lost appetite, and fell into a poor psychological state. During a health examination, it was discovered that his daughter suffered from anemia, and laboratory tests showed that her illness was extremely serious. The hospital diagnosed her with beta-thalassemia major.


In November, Wei Shufu and his wife took the several tens of thousands of yuan borrowed from relatives and friends to take their daughter to Guangzhou and were told by doctors that she would need a bone marrow transplant requiring a deposit of 300,000 yuan. If the bone marrow transplant is not done, then she will need blood transfusions all her life, with annual blood transfusion expenses being roughly 50,000-60,000 [RMB].


For a peasant household that makes less than 4000 yuan a year, 300,000 [RMB] for surgery is an astronomical sum. Wei Shufu says he’s willing to spend the entire family’s savings or even die if it could save his daughter’s life. Now, his 3-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter have been confirmed to be a match, but for the hospital to do the surgery, they have to wait in line for five years until it is their turn. Under the doctor’s advisement, Wei Shufu also checked with various major hospital, but they too would have to wait a long time at each before the surgery could be performed. Left without a choice, the couple could only bring their daughter back home. Wei Shufu knows too that bringing their daughter back home simply means waiting for death.


Over the past few days, Wei Shufu suddenly remembered an idea given to him by a patient they had met in the hospital — fume therapy, where some illnesses can be treated with the fumes released by burning herbal medicines.


Wei Shufu purchased a copy of the Compendium of Materia Medica, and searched for herbal medicine that could be burned. Apart from mugwort, there are many other herbs that can be burned for their fumes as medicine. More importantly, for someone like Wei Shufu who lives in a mountain village, these herbs are very commonly seen and extremely easy to find. For safety, Wei Shufu build a herbal medicine bed in an open space, with the intent of having his daughter lie on it while burning herbal medicine below her so the fumes rise up to his daughter.


Wei Shufu had his daughter lie on the herbal bed and then he lit the mix of herbs and dry firewood beneath her. Very quickly, the thick smoke emitted from the herbs enveloped his daughter lying on the bed. His daughter choked a bit on the smoke but Wei Shufu said it wasn’t too bad, even joking that the smell of the herbal medicine smoke was different from that of ordinary firewood, and smelled a little fragrant.


With regards to treating his daughter with this sort of burning of herbal medicine, he himself says he doesn’t know if there is any actual efficacy, but he’s still willing to try, in hopes of saving his daughter, so that she can be healthy again as soon as possible, and be able to go to school like all the other normal kids.



Comments from NetEase (1 & 2):

wxx7311 [网易天津市网友]:

Tears fell from my eyes. If it were me, I’d always be waiting for death.

解放后给你们自由民主尊严 [网易吉林省长春市网友]:

Zhao Baige, have you died yet??

[Note: Zhao Baige was the vice chairwoman of the Chinese Red Cross Society who vowed to rehabilitate the organization’s public reputation after the Guo Meimei controversy, previously mentioned in these translations.]

年华暗换 [网易江西省赣州市网友]: (responding to above)

She’s dead, but even if others take her place, it [Chinese Red Cross] will be the same. [Or “Even if she died and someone else took her place…”]

淡水鱼莫笑海水鱼 [网易广东省深圳市网友]:

Red Cross Society

芙小小4世 [网易四川省泸州市网友]:

Black Cross Society nowhere to be seen.

[Note: “Black” is used here to remark about the corrupt or unconscionable failure of the Chinese Red Cross Society as an organization intended to help those in need, and whom these netizens regard as the organization that should be addressing such cases as this.]

昔拉xila [网易河南省郑州市网友]:

Just who has been provided for by Social Maintenance Fees?

[Note: The Social Maintenance Fee is a fee/fine paid for having more children than legally allowed, intended to compensate for increased social infrastructure costs associated with overpopulation.]

Can we understand it as having to pay a fee first before being allowed to be born in this country? So odd.

送子和尚 [网易河南省郑州市网友]:

A certain company built a huge hundred million ton ship with a magnificent exterior, named “孟国忠号”. The ship was very large. Its horn when blown could be heard throughout of all Asia, its steam whistle when pulled sounded in both the East and Western hemispheres. Is that larger or what?!
Then, when 1.4 billion passengers waited two years without seeing the ship move half an step, they went to ask the ship’s captain.
The ships captain tilted his head, shrugged his shoulders, and spread his hands, saying:
“Sorry, I’m really sorry, all of the ship’s power has been used on the ship’s horn and steam whistle…”

我是松果 [网易江苏省苏州市网友]: 2014-11-25 17:34:04 发表

Where’s the Red Cross???

一枪毙了他可好 [懂车帝]:

In our China today, the government and people are doing well. In the midst of rapid development, after encountering various developmental bottlenecks, we will definitely find a path for development [future] suitable for ourselves, and this sort of perplexing current situation is also just temporary. Through time and social survival of the fittest, the future China will definitely be a civilized, rich and powerful, and modern country. To this end, we must believe firmly that our homeland’s future will be even better.

梧桐花飘 [网易广东省深圳市宝安区网友]:

After this child grows up, she won’t thank the country [state, government], nor will she be brainwashed! Because it is paternal love like a mountain that is the most important wealth [one can have]! In the face of such a cruel social welfare system and healthcare system, not a single one of us can ask her to love her own country, because the country has sought to care about her.

山东经贸学院院长 [网易上海市网友]:

Seeing this, Li Shizhen [the author of the Compendium of Materia Medica] too would silently cry.

忍无可忍的良民 [网易福建省漳州市网友]:

Where’s the Red Cross?

何立言 [网易福建省网友]:

A heartbreaking piece of news. At this very moment, I am filled with an indescribable grief. We used to have confidence in this country, people, society, but in the face of a family’s hardships, other than being extremely moved, what else can we do?

九格牙陆 [网易广西南宁市武鸣县网友]:

If it is a good piece of wood, the government will quickly come.

网易韩国网友 ip:112.165.*.*

Help this child. As a father, my eyes are already moist.

Summerwoter [网易广东省东莞市网友]:

I love my country, but my country doesn’t love me!
300,000 to save a life, and 400 billion in crash spending!
A joke, a joke that costs lives.

广州叶师傅 [网易广东省广州市网友]:

There’s hope!

faceljh [网易云南省昆明市网友]:

When one has medical insurance, one’s heart doesn’t tremble [fear].

秤砣下的瓜农 [网易河南省商丘市网友]:

Medical insurance.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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