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Burn survivor recovering well, hopes to 'give back to society'

Burn survivor recovering well, hopes to 'give back to society'

Taipei, (CNA) Less than a month ago, 24-year-old Chen Yi-ju had a bright future ahead of her. She planned to attend a cram school in July to prepare for a test to become a certified nurse.
But that all changed June 27, when colored corn starch exploded at a Taiwan water park party, injuring Chen and around 500 other partygoers, most of them in their teens and 20s.
Chen, who suffered second- and third-degree burns to 37 percent of her body, was rushed to hospital along with her boyfriend, who was also at the party. She was later transferred to the Ministry of Health and Welfare's Taichung Hospital in central Taiwan, where she has been receiving treatment ever since, while her boyfriend remains hospitalized in Taipei.
On Monday, Chen, who has made a speedy recovery, attended a press conference at the hospital along with her parents, as well as doctors and nurses, to encourage other burn victims and their families. With her limbs still wrapped in gauze and sitting in a wheelchair, Chen said she forces herself to consume at least six eggs every day to supply her body with protein, even if she is not in the mood for food. She also consumes meat, vegetables and fruit, she said, adding that she used to weigh only 46 kilograms, but has gained 3 kg over the past few weeks.
Although her plans to become a nurse may need to be suspended for now, Chen said she now holds a heightened appreciation and respect for medical staff and is determined to stick to her plan to become a nurse after she has fully recovered.
"I hope to give back to society," she said.
Even though she studied nursing, Chen said she has never been hospitalized before, nor has she been dependent on someone to flip her over, feed her and keep her clean.
Chen's mother Wan Ping-ling said that she and her husband travel from Taipei to Taichung every day to take care of their daughter. After the accident, Wan quit her job and has been traveling between the two cities to take care of both her daughter and elderly family members back home in Taipei.
"It's really hard," she said.
She said she felt sad after learning that the father of one of the burn victims has committed suicide, and urged the families of the around 500 burn victims to stay strong.
Wan said she often cries after seeing how much pain her daughter is in, but Chen always comforts her by saying: "Mom, I will do my best to get better! I will get well!"
Huang Yuan-te, deputy superintendent of the hospital, said Chen is recovering well and estimated that she will be able to return home in one or two weeks.
Tsai Hsin-chung, director of the surgical department at the hospital, said 10-15 percent of Chen's burns are third-degree burns, but she has made it through the most dangerous period for infection. He said doctors have applied dressings to Chen's wounds and she has also consumed a lot of protein, which has helped speed her recovery. Chen's wounds have now reduced to only 8 percent of her body, and she will not require skin grafts, according to the hospital.
As of Monday afternoon, the fiery explosion had claimed eight lives and 171 people remained listed in critical condition, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics show. (By Hau Hsueh-ching and Christie Chen)


Updated : 2021-09-27 02:57 GMT+08:00