Sunday, April 02, 2006


(67) Hung-Goi

This is not an easy name to say and not an easy girl to think about.

The first, think Elmer Fudd telling you he wants to eat. He wants dinner. He’s ’s Hugwy.

Now, think of a three year old girl. She speaks two languages fluently, Mandarin and English. She’s from Hong Kong, but now she is in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and she is dieing a slow and terrible death.

She is pretty in a way only young Chinese girls can be pretty. She is bright – intelligent to a fault. She is lying in a bed in Boston Children’s Hospital. The Intensive Care Unit. Thirteen different monitors attached to her tiny but bloated and scarred body.

She is the only known living example of something tough to say, even if you don’t have Elmer’s speech problems.

Here is what it is called: kaposiform Lymphangioendothelioma with Kasaback-Merrik Phenonenon.

Don’t even try. You can’t do it. Her doctors can’t do it.

This girl is almost four years old.

She is in the ICU with 13 different monitors attached to her long, lank but swollen body.

She is alert, personable, bi-lingual and on her death bed in that Boston hospital, where only the hopeless go and they do miracles. But not in this case.

Her father is Chen Sho-Mao, a highfalutin’ lawyer with a JD from Stanford and a BA from Harvard. Her mother is Chen-Ku Jenny, with an MA from the London School of Economics and a BA from Queens College of the City University of New York. Her Aunt is Aileen Ku, with a Masters Degree from Syracuse University. Her grandmother is Richards-Want Ying Chi, with a nursing degree from a prestigious university in Taipei. Her grandfathers are Michael Ku of Taipei and Wes Richards of State College, PA. There’s a lot of brains filtering into this girl.

And she is on her death bed. And she knows it. And she knows what that means.

The doctors in Hong Kong and Taipei say “pull the plug.”

The grandparents – except for the American ones -- say “pull the plug.”

The parents say “not yet.”

Maybe there is a God. Maybe He or She is merciful. Maybe there will be a miracle in Boston, where the doctors also say “pull the plug,” which is not something they say a lot at Boston Children’s, home of medical miracles.

The tall little three year old’s heart works fine. So do her lungs. Everything else has failed. Kidneys. Bowels. Digestive tract. Bones. Blood. Kidneys.

All of this is being done by machine. But the mind works and so do the senses.

You kill the electricity for two minutes, and this is a dead girl.

But we’re talking about Boston Children’s. Generators. Nothing would happen to the electricity even if there were a tornado, an earthquake, a hurricane.

So what would YOU do? Kiss her goodbye, or pray for a miracle.

The votes are “goodbye” 3, Miracle, 3. In this case, the “ayes” have it.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.™

©wjr 2006

1 comment:

Phoebe said...

Thank you for sharing how Heng Qi was in Boston. I miss her very much and her innocent but bright smile is always in my heart!!

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