Saturday, 28 August 2010

HK tourist holds no anger, thanks doctor

By Jeannette Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20100828-289193/HK-tourist-holds-no-anger-thanks-doctor

MANILA, Philippines—Bullets from an automatic rifle shattered the jaw and broke all the fingers of Hong Kong tourist Yik Siu Ling during the Monday bloodbath at Quirino Grandstand in Manila.

But despite her injuries, 32-year-old Yik held no anger for the tragedy inflicted on her and her compatriots by a desperate Filipino policeman whose cause they did not understand.

On Wednesday night, she struggled through broken fingers to write a note to her Filipino nurses and doctors at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in her own language: “Thank you, doctor and nurse. Please relay the message.”

Before she headed to the airport for a flight back to her homeland, accompanied by members of her family and People’s Republic of China consul Wu Zheng Ping, she handed the note to Dr. Tong Hon Kuan of Hong Kong’s Queen Mary Hospital, who translated it and passed it on to PGH resident Dr. Alduz Cabasa.

Yik’s simple note thanking her healers touched the medical community.

Step toward healing

Dr. Michael Tee, PGH assistant director for public affairs, e-mailed the note to the Inquirer on Thursday along with his message: “Neither a shattered jaw nor broken fingers prevented our patient from expressing her gratitude. I hope this is a major step toward healing the wounds created by this tragedy between the people of China and the Philippines.”

In a phone interview yesterday, Tee said writing was the only means by which Yik could communicate.

“All her fingers were broken. It was impossible for her to talk because of her shattered jaw. She could only write her requests, although it was difficult for her to do so,” Tee said.

He said the hospital staff had provided the Chinese patient bond paper and a pen at her bedside.

Yik endured medical procedures for two days—a debridement (to reconstruct her shattered jaw) and a tracheostomy (to ease her breathing).

Her fingers were repaired by doctors from Hong Kong and the PGH trauma team composed of anesthesiologist Dr. Orlando Ocampo, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Severino Tanbonliong, and plastic surgeon Dr. Jose Joven Cruz.

Yik neither speaks nor understands English or Filipino.

Tee recalled that when Yik was admitted to the PGH late Monday night, surgery resident Dr. Nathaniel Tan helped the trauma team communicate with her.

She was able to communicate through writing after her fingers were put in splints.

Gratifying

“She had no voice. But it did not stop her from expressing her gratitude to us despite what happened,” Tee pointed out.

Cabasa was equally pleased.

“Initially, I was embarrassed to even approach the Chinese group because of what had happened. I was surprised when Dr. Tong handed me the note,” Cabasa told the Inquirer.

“I was happy. The victims could still be grateful to us despite what a fellow Filipino did ... It was the first time someone from a foreign country who happened to be a victim of our compatriot did that. It was gratifying to know that our efforts were appreciated,” he said.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, PGH Director Dr. Enrique Domingo said: “The PGH appreciates the trust of the Chinese people, who tirelessly coordinated with us. We hope that with the safe repatriation of Ms Yik Siu Ling, we have contributed to the healing of relations between our two nations.”

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