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Young man gets new lease on life after burn surgeries

By Wang Keju in Beijing and Liu Kun in Wuhan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-09-12 20:19
Doctor Xie Weiguo removes stitches from patient Zhao Xuecheng in the Burns Treatment Department of the Third Hospital of Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, Sept 11, 2018. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A man in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, who has lived his 23 years with a burned and disfigured face, finished his eighth and final surgical procedure on Tuesday and is ready to start a new life.

After the surgery, 90 percent of the scars are basically gone from Zhao Xuecheng's face, leaving only some surgical incisions.

"After a year and a half of treatment, I am relieved and my attitude changed. I became much more relaxed after each surgery. I want to find a job now and take a good look at the world," Zhao said.

Li Xianyu and Zhao Liniu, Zhao Xuecheng's foster parents from Xiangyang in Hubei province, are now in their 60s. They adopted him as a baby after finding him disfigured by burns and abandoned in bushes, in January 1995.

Though struggling to make ends meet by planting and selling vegetables and with little savings, the couple decided to look after Zhao. They took the boy to a hospital but could not afford the cost of plastic surgery, which would have been tens of thousands of yuan.

But as the couple grew older, they worried about their son's future, as he couldn't find a job due to the disfigurement. Using their entire savings of 30,000 yuan, they took Zhao to Chongqing for surgery in 2017. The results weren't as good as expected, and there their money was gone.

They then turned to the Burns Department of the Third Hospital of Wuhan for medical treatment. Faced with great difficulty of the surgery, the hospital provided a detailed "face-changing" surgical plan and helped him to secure a 200,000 yuan donation via the Hubei Charity Federation.

Since March 2017, Zhao has undergone eight operations. Unless there are complications with his recovery, his most recent surgery is the last.

"We have always encouraged Zhao to step out into society. Even if his appearance does not recover to the level of ordinary people, he should embrace his life and society courageously, Xie Weiguo, director of the Burn Treatment Department, said.

"We all hope he can learn new knowledge and skills, adapt to society, make some achievements. And we also hope that everyone will have more tolerance and understanding for people like him," the doctor said.

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