Stabbed student carries on 

Updated: 2011-11-08 07:15

By Yang Yijun (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - Every breath Chen Jiachen takes is painful.

The university student was stabbed multiple times in his chest and leg when trying to help a classmate during a fight seven years ago, and despite three major operations, he still suffers from the damage to his heart, lung, kidney and left leg.

Stabbed student carries on 

Chen Jiachen,a senior in the physics department of Shanghai University. [Photo/China Daily]

"I remain optimistic. After all, medical technology develops every day," said Chen, gentle and quiet, but looking a bit pale.

He has to sleep at least 10 hours a day and finds himself declining in energy and memory.

Nonetheless, Chen, 23, managed to graduate from high school and is now a senior in the physics department of Shanghai University.

Due to his weak health, the university arranged a double-bedroom dormitory for him, which is usually provided to doctoral students. His father, who used to work in a hospital, didn't return to work after the accident, but lives with his son seven days a week in the dormitory and takes care of him.

"My son looks sturdy when he talks to other people. He is not willing to show his disability. I'm the only one who sees the fragility of him," said his father, Chen Qiaosheng.

"Over the years, he has never had a good night's sleep. At night I constantly hear him moaning because of the severe pain in his chest," his father said.

Chen takes three painkillers every day, which, according to his father, is the maximum quantity. However, the pills help little.

Their sole income is the 2,000 yuan ($315) subsidy that his father's employer pays each month, half of which goes to Chen's medical expenses. Various medicines occupy a whole shelf. The university, however, considering his family's economic condition, offered him free tuition.

"When I'm in the dormitory, I spend almost all the time going over the lessons. I know my memory has weakened, so I have to work harder than my classmates to catch up with them," Chen said.

He failed four courses and is now spending an extra year to pass all the exams.

"I used to be good at playing football and basketball, but now I can only read fiction in my spare time," he said.

His father cooks light dishes for him every day, such as steamed fish and vegetables.

"His condition is deteriorating year by year. Doctors have suggested that we turn to foreign experts, as domestic medical techniques can't cure the disease. But we can't afford it," Chen's father said.

The person who stabbed Chen was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay 374,000 yuan in compensation. However, Chen has only received 19,000 yuan so far, and is unlikely to see much more.

Senior university students usually start job hunting in September when the last academic year begins. But Chen is faced with the problem that he may not be able to find a job due to his physical condition.

"I have done two intern jobs, a production line assistant and a tester in a lab. I can fully handle light jobs, but I'm afraid most companies won't hire me if they know my condition," he said.

Chen hopes to find a computer-related job such as a webmaster.

Fu Xinhua, head of the employment office at the university's College of Sciences, has been assigned as Chen's personal tutor to guide his studies and career.

"He is always optimistic although he is faced with huge difficulties," Fu said.

"He also has a very nice personality. Although he doesn't live with his classmates, they keep a very harmonious relationship," he added.

Class monitor Ding Zhujun said Chen is eager to integrate with the class.

"He actively takes part in the class activities and asks me in advance if there are any outings or parties."

Chen's father, 55, suffers from kidney disease and looks older than his age.

"I can't take care of him for his whole life. My greatest wish for my son is that his disease can be cured and he will be able to earn his own living," he said.