A 17-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, Yan Cheng, had died in Hubei province on Wednesday, 29 January 2020 after he was left alone at home for six days without “regular care, food or company”, according to local government officials.
The teenager was left alone at home after his carer dad, Yan Xiaowen and younger brother (who is autistic) were suspected of contracting the Wuhan coronavirus, reported Beijing Youth Daily on Thursday.
Disabled boy dies at home: local official said ‘there was no way’ he would have been left alone with no one to take care of him. | Photo: Weibo
It was reported that on 17 January 2020, both father and younger brother travelled to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Huahe township, Hongan county, just 150km from the central city where the coronavirus was first reported.
With father, Yan who caught a fever three days later, both ended up quarantined by authorities at a treatment facility on Friday.
It was said that Yan had contacted a Wuhan disability charity for help, which reported the matter to the Hubei Disabled Person’s Federation, a branch of China’s state organisation for the disabled.
Although Cheng was entrusted to the local communist Party officials, the 49-year-old father worried over his son “not getting proper care”.
With his severe motor disability, Cheng had to be constantly watched over. As a result, his father Yan, took towards Weibo (his account was later deleted) to appeal for help.
He wrote: “I have two disabled sons. My older son Yan Cheng has cerebral palsy. He cannot move his body, he cannot speak or look after himself. He has already been at home by himself for six days, with nobody to bathe him or change his clothes and nothing to eat or drink.”
The dad was fearful that his “child will soon die” and urged everyone to “help send some protective suits to Yanjia village in Huahe township, Hongan county, Hubei province” due to the lack of protective clothing from the government and hospitals.
Disabled boy dies at home: his father had appealed via a post on Weibo to seek help from the public. | Photo: iStock
Several photos of Yan and his son were included, together with his own medical treatment information and Chinese identity card.
However, it was mentioned that Cheng had been fed thrice by his aunt and changed twice during the 6-day period in a Damihexiaomi report, according to the South China Morning Post.
Even so, Cheng’s “condition was rapidly deteriorating by then” as quoted by his aunt. She too was in ill health and could not visit more often.
“He was lying on a lounge chair but his head was hanging. His face and mouth were dirty, as well as his duvet.”
According to the same report, Party officials planned to send Cheng and his father to a hotel for quarantine on Wednesday but Cheng unfortunately died that afternoon.
On how Cheng could be possibly left alone at home without anyone taking care of him, a Huahe township employee says “there is no way” due to the strict monitoring of cadres.
No official statement was made on the cause or circumstances of Cheng’s death and investigations are ongoing.
Lead image screengrab from Weibo.
Source: Beijing Youth Daily, South China Morning Post