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Living by his own hand

By Cang Wei and Song Wenwei | China Daily | Updated: 2013-01-22 11:02
Living by his own hand

Hu Songwen undergoes hemodialysis using his homemade hemodialysis machine, which he has been dependent on for 13 years. [Photo/ China Photo Press]

Living by his own hand

Hu Songwen's 81-year-old mother, Huang Zhongfang, is his only hemodialysis assistant.

An impoverished uremia patient has moved the public by constructing his own hemodialysis machine to stay alive. Cang Wei and Song Wenwei report in Nanjing.

Doctors agree it's a miracle that Hu Songwen has survived for 13 years because of his homemade hemodialysis machine.

The man recalls his life fell apart when he was diagnosed with uremia in 1993. He was a 21-year-old Nanjing Institute of Meteorology senior.

That morning, his face swelled. He had difficulty urinating. And he couldn't even stand on his own.

A medical examination showed both of his kidneys had failed.

The institute paid Hu's expensive medical bills for a year. It then sent him home to Qutang township in Jiangsu province's Hai'an county.

Hu's parents were factory workers, but each hemodialysis session cost 400 yuan ($64). At that time, his parents earned less than 1,500 yuan a month, but Hu needed more than 4,000 yuan every month to live.

The parents had done everything possible to save their son. In less than a year, they sold all their valuables and borrowed money from all of their relatives. After the money from the government and Hu's friends were spent, they couldn't afford food or housing.

"Do nothing but wait for death?" Hu says.

"I couldn't."

After reading books about the principles of hemodialysis, Hu - who excelled at chemistry and physics in high school - bought a cheap secondhand blood pump online and asked an acquaintance to purchase hemodialysis tubes.

"The principles of hemodialysis aren't complicated," Hu says.

"I had confidence I could overcome the difficulties I'd face."

Living by his own hand

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 Living by his own hand

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