Dust ex­plo­sion vic­tims take part in a ‘re­birthing’ cer­e­mony at hos­pi­tal


Eight in­jured vic­tims from the Formosa Wa­ter Park ex­plo­sions in late June were dis­charged yesterday from the Tri-Ser­vice Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal ( ), fol­low­ing the hos­pi­tal’s “re­birthing” cer­e­mony in cel­e­bra­tion of their re­cov­ery.

Tri-Ser­vice ad­mit­ted 61 in­jured af­ter the ex­plo­sions, and a to­tal of 31 were suc­cess­fully dis­charged or trans­ferred, ac­cord­ing to Chen Hsi-ken ( ), the head of the hos­pi­tal’s surgery depart­ment who also serves as a pro­fes­sor at the Na­tional De­fense Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Among the dis­charged burn pa­tients was 22-year-old Chen Weiyu ( ), who sus­tained burns to over 38 per­cent his body. His girl­friend how­ever re­mains in the hos­pi­tal and is still un­der­go­ing treat­ment as she sus­tained burns to over 40 per­cent of her body.

Chen de­scribed the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process as “ex­tremely painful,” a pain that he com­pared to be­ing 10 times more in­tense than giv­ing birth. Another friend of Chen’s sus­tained burns to 54 per­cent of his body, and is still un­der­go­ing med­i­cal treat­ment. For broth­ers Kuo Chin-wei ( ), 19 years old, and Kuo Hsiu-ming ( ), 23 years old, both main­tained a pos­i­tive out­look re­gard­ing their in­juries de­spite the pain. “The doc­tors and nurses are just like our friends,” the younger Kuo said, re­call­ing the cheer­ful mood in the hos­pi­tal ward as they re­cov­ered and un­der­went treat­ment. The younger Kuo sus­tained burns to 10 per­cent of his body while the older Kuo had more se­ri­ous in­juries, to around 40 per­cent of his body.

The older Kuo emo­tion­ally ex­pressed his grat­i­tude to the hos­pi­tal med­i­cal staff and his fam­ily, say­ing “it was re­ally painful,” but said he was lucky, as many more are bat­tling in­juries against seem­ingly in­sur­mount­able odds.

Cheng Chih-hsuan ( ), a stu­dent study­ing at Taipei Med­i­cal School who sus­tained burns to around 5 per­cent of her body, re­mem­bered call­ing her mother who lives in Hualien while she was still con­scious, telling her about the ex­plo­sions. Af­ter­wards, Cheng was ad­mit­ted into the hos­pi­tal. Dur­ing her in­ter­view, she had to keep pres­sure on the wounds on her leg, which were seep­ing flu­ids, through pres­sure gar­ments, as her in­juries were itchy.

In the same hos­pi­tal ward as Cheng was Tsai Chia-hua ( ), who re­ceived burns to 30 per­cent of her body and who com­pared wa­ter re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ther­apy to scrub­bing coarse sponges on her wounds. “My legs didn’t feel like they were mine at all,” Tsai said, re­call­ing the dis­com­fort and pain.


Chen Wei-yu ( ), sec­ond row cen­ter, poses with other pa­tients who were in­jured dur­ing the Formosa Wa­ter Park ex­plo­sions yesterday. The Tri-Ser­vice Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal ( ) held a re­birthing party to celebrate the re­cov­ery of Chen and seven other pa­tients.

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