Woman found alive af­ter taken to morgue by son

The China Post - - LOCAL -

An el­derly woman was found to be alive by sur­prised staff at a mourn­ing hall next to Kaoh­si­ung mu­nic­i­pal fu­neral home on Satur­day morn­ing af­ter be­ing taken there by her son, de­spite be­ing still very much alive.

The 58-year-old Lee Hsiu-hui ( ) re­port­edly “raised her hands to shield her eyes from the sun” when she was moved from an am­bu­lance to the pri­vate­ly­op­er­ated mourn­ing hall at about 10 a.m. on Satur­day.

The am­bu­lance driver re­port­edly said the fu­neral par­lor told him that Lee would die soon af­ter her na­so­gas­tric tube was re­moved, so he was sur­prised to find her still alive when they ar­rived at the morgue. The driver claimed he did not re­port what he saw to the mor­tu­ary staff or the po­lice be­cause Lee was ac­com­pa­nied by her son.

Lee, who wore an adult di­a­per and had a na­so­gas­tric tube, was in the mourn­ing hall for about five hours be­fore mor­tu­ary staff found her still alive and re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice, who in­structed Lee’s son to take her home.

Lee’s son said he was con­sumed with “pain” when tak­ing his mother to the mourn­ing hall, but could not dis­obey his fa­ther’s de­ci­sion.

“My mom lives with pain and we are also suf­fer­ing. We’ve all done our best,” said Lee’s son, who had re­mained by her side but did noth­ing other than wait at the mourn­ing hall amid Bud­dhist prayers for the dead. “I’m very up­set and feel help­less,” he added.

Lee’s hus­band, Wang Shunfu ( ), 81, said he had spent all his sav­ings tak­ing care of Lee over the past 18 years af­ter she suf­fered from a se­ries of chronic ill­nesses, in­clud­ing “black foot dis­ease,” which leads to gan­grene.

Wang said that af­ter he was hos­pi­tal­ized on Fri­day evening due to a high fever, he was un­able to look af­ter Lee any­more and “had no choice” but to ask his son to leave her in the morn­ing hall to die.

The So­cial Af­fairs Bureau of Kaoh­si­ung City Gov­ern­ment said on Sun­day that so­cial work­ers had vis­ited Lee at her home and would seek low in­come sub­si­dies from the gov­ern­ment and other pri­vate sources to help the fam­ily through hard times.

The po­lice are con­sid­er­ing charg­ing Wang and his son with aban­don­ment, which could re­sult in a sen­tence of up to three years in pri­son.

Kaoh­si­ung Chang Gung Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal, where Lee was hos­pi­tal­ized ear­lier this month, said she was not crit­i­cally ill when she left the hos­pi­tal at about 9 a.m. on Satur­day at the re­quest of her fam­ily.

How­ever, Lee was re­turned to the hos­pi­tal by her son at 7 p.m. on Satur­day for emer­gency treat­ment and moved to the public ward on Sun­day.

The hos­pi­tal in­di­cated that Lee, who has suf­fered a cere­bral stroke, di­a­betes and kid­ney dis­ease, re­quired long- term care from a care­giver. Lee and her son de­clined me­dia re­quests for in­ter­views on Sun­day. The me­dia out­lets waited out­side Kaoh­si­ung Chang Gung Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal, but they were asked to leave af­ter the hos­pi­tal re­ceived com­plaints from other pa­tients.

Ap­ple Daily re­ported that Lee is Wang’s third wife and lives with his first wife in a house with four floors. The first floor was used by Wang as a Chi­nese herbal medicine phar­macy, which was closed af­ter Wang’s first wife be­came par­a­lyzed and Lee suf­fered chronic dis­eases, the re­port said.

Lee’s son said he works in a small plas­tic fac­tory in Kaoh­si­ung and earns about NT$10,000 ( US$ 322) per month, so it is be­yond his means to af­ford a care­giver that costs at least NT$60,000 per month, the re­port said.

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