Shanghai--A two-year-old girl who was run over by a pair of vans in south China's Guangdong Province and ignored by 18 passers-by was recovering better than doctors expected yesterday, with slight feelings returning to her limbs.
But she still couldn't breathe on her own and was under critical care in the intensive care unit.
Her mother, surnamed Qu, launched a microblog on Weibo.com yesterday to post updates on the girl. "We have received numerous phone calls expressing strong will to help us," she wrote. "We are speechless and grateful."
By last night, her microblog account had gained 10,000-plus fans and thousands of comments to pray for the girl and encourage the family. Qu's updates cheered the netizens who were previously saddened by the prevailing news that the girl had brain death on Sunday.
The girl, called Yueyue by her parents, was crushed by vans a few minutes apart last Thursday in a hardware wholesale market in the city of Foshan. She was not rushed to hospital until the 19th passer-by reached her seven minutes later.
Foshan plans to reward garbage collector Chen Xianmei, the woman who finally helped Yueyue, the Legal Evening News reported yesterday. Chen, 58, came to Foshan from Guangdong's Qingyuan City in 2009 to live with her children working in the city. Chen cooks meals for a company and in her spare time collects boxes and screws in the wholesaling market to earn extra money.
She has become a celebrity after the video recording the behavior of the passers-by was uploaded online. Some people asked her whether she helped the girl because she wanted to be famous, which hurt her and her family's feelings. Chen said she helped simply because it was a natural response for her.
Yueyue lives with her parents and a seven-year-old brother in a house near the wholesale market. Qu was hanging clothes upstairs when Yueyue went out with her brother to play with their friends. After hearing people shouting that a child had been crushed, Qu rushed outside to find her daughter lying in a pool of blood.
Police caught a driver surnamed Jiang, who drove the second van to hit the child, about 9pm on the evening of the accident. The first van driver, surnamed Hu, surrendered to police on Sunday afternoon.
Hu told the Guangzhou Daily that he knew he had bumped into something but he didn't realize it was a child because it was raining heavily and he couldn't see clearly and couldn't hear the child screaming. He learned of the accident from the media reports, he said.
Wen Qiang, deputy director of the ICU at the General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command, where Yueyue is being treated, said that her life-threatening injures are in the brain.
He said that the girl's blood pressure had risen slightly, which meant she didn't need large doses of blood pressure medication. But she is still in critical condition.
On Sina's Weibo, one user called the incident "the shame of the Chinese people."
"Really, what is up with our society? I saw this and my heart went cold. Everyone needs to do some soul searching about ending this kind of indifference," another user wrote.
Many people are hesitant to help people who appear to be in distress for fear that they will be blamed. High-profile law suits have ended with good Samaritans ordered to pay hefty fines to people they helped.