Girl on her way to recovery after Bangkok blast

Girl on her way to recovery after Bangkok blast

Jasmine Chu, nine, has a large piece of bomb shrapnel in one of her thighs.
Photo: Chu King-fun

[Update - 3.39pm, August 19]

Jasmine Chu Sum-yu is now on her way to recovery, her father said after her six-hour operation.

Doctors expect Jasmine would need to be in hospital for about a week before she could be transferred home.

Chu King-fun said his daughter left the operating theatre at around 5am local time. "She said she was starving right after she woke up from anaesthesia," Chu said. "Of course, I hope she could be back home as soon as possible, but it's not up to me to decide."

A nine-year-old Hong Kong girl injured in the Bangkok blast on Monday is now fighting for her life undergoing a six-hour operation to remove a large piece of bomb shrapnel from her thigh, the father says as he waits at the hospital.

Chu King-fun, 61, said the doctors were optimistic about the chances of a successful operation, but added that this was not entirely reassuring.

Earlier on Tuesday, doctors had told him that his daughter, Jasmine Chu Sum-yu, would be able to leave after simple procedures to remove the shrapnel.

But after conducting an MRI the doctors said she had to be sent into intensive care immediately.

“The doctors said that if this big piece of shrapnel could not be removed from the thigh in time, this could cost her the leg or even her life,” Chu told SCMP on Tuesday night.

Father and daughter had travelled together to the Thai capital for a five-day trip, but Jasmine was injured in the bomb blast that ripped through Erawan Shrine shortly after 7pm on Monday.

Jasmine’s surgery started at 8pm local time on Tuesday and was expected to last till 2am. This was the second time she had to be operated on in 24 hours, Chu said.

A friend who was with the family was not so lucky; she did not make it and was confirmed dead at the scene.

When the blast happened, she had been walking with Chu, behind Jasmine, who was walking with another family friend. The two groups were separated by a space of “20 to 30 people”.

“When I got there, about a dozen people lying near her were all unconscious, but I could see her still trying to stand up,” Chu said.

“When I later asked Jasmine why she had made it but not my friend, she didn’t seem to know either. But it seemed things might have been different had she and my friend swapped places while walking down the street.”

The large piece of iron shrapnel, which doctors believed had come from a home-made bomb judging from the nails and iron used, had pierced Jasmine’s thigh.

The doctors warned that if the removal was not done properly, the main arteries in the thigh might be cut, which could cost the girl her leg or even her life.

Chu was worried as his daughter appeared to be worsening every hour on Tuesday.

“Her leg was swelling and getting bigger every hour; it felt so cold when I touched it,” he said.

“Even the insurance company said an operation was needed as soon as possible. That told you how urgent it really was.”

Financial matters were not on his mind right now, he said, since insurance should get almost everything covered.

“Now it feels we’re here only for the blast,” Chu said.


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