Li Chi, Deputy Director of the Burn Department in Beijing's Jishuitan Hospital: "We received four patients. They all had critical inhalation wounds to the trachea. They were in danger of choking at any time. So at the same time we operated on their surface burns, we also immediately performed tracheotomies."
In a tracheotomy, a tube is placed in the throat below the vocal chords so the patient can breathe. The patient cannot use his mouth to breathe, and air cannot get to the vocal cords and larynx, so the patient cannot speak. It takes many days for an adult to adjust to this condition, and much longer for a child. If a patient really wants to speak, he has to cover the tube opening, but the voice will be intermittent and unclear. Yet the reports from an interview of the 12-year-old victim by the Xinhua News agency present a different picture.
The little girl was in serious condition: her trachea was cut open, yet she could talk with the interviewers loudly and clearly after only four days.
Furthermore, standard medical procedure dictates that patients with large areas of burned skin be placed in an isolated, sterile room, because the burned area needs to be exposed to the air. This prevents infection and makes it easier for the nurse to apply medication and clean the wounds. Doctors and nurses treating these patients are required to wear masks and sterile clothing when entering the room.
Normal treatment for a burn victim: Doctors and nurses wear protective clothing and masks, and the burn victim is exposed to the air in a sterile environment to avoid infection.
CCTV's report, "Tiananmen Square Self-immolation Incident," shows the burn victim fully wrapped in gauze. The reporter wears no protective clothing or mask, and is shown interviewing the victim without any concern for spreading infection.
Yet, when we look at the CCTV footage, we see that the patient is in an open room. We also see that the patient is wrapped in thick layers of gauze bandages and that the nurse is not wearing a mask. Neither is the reporter wearing a mask, gloves, or any sterile clothing. Why would a patient in such critical condition with such serious burns be treated so casually?
The authorities did not allow any reporters other than those from the Xinhua News Agency to interview 12-year-old Siying, nor did they allow any of her family members to visit. They even threatened her grandmother, to such an extent that the elderly woman was terrified to be interviewed by any reporters.
Two months after the incident in Tiananmen Square, the hospital announced the sudden death of Siying. Did this 12-year-old, who was able to sing just a few days after a tracheotomy and major burn surgery, really die? How did this happen, when she was in such remarkable condition after the event? And why was she under such tight security that even her family was not allowed to visit?
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