• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Chinese woman 'adopted' by doctors for six years

The Local · 4 Jun 2014, 08:34

Published: 04 Jun 2014 08:34 GMT+02:00

The woman, known only as Zheng and thought to be around 40, was rushed to hospital in February 2008 after an anonymous phone call led paramedics to her home in San Giacomo delle Segnate, northern Italy.

Zheng was found alone and had suffered a serious stroke, Gazzetta di Mantova reported.

After an operation she was transferred to the neurological ward in Mantua and onwards to a rehabilitation centre in nearby Bozzolo, where she remained in a coma. Zheng reportedly relapsed but after further treatment was transferred to another rehabilitation ward in Pieve di Coriano.

Authorities were unable to find out her identity and now, more than five years after her stroke, are struggling to find a way for her to leave the rehabilitation centre.

Zheng “was abandoned” according to Renato Schiavello, a medical worker at the centre.

“Years later there’s still no official certainty of her identity. Every now and then Chinese people come to see her, but it happens sporadically and they don’t speak Italian. Where she was found there’s no-one left, they have completely disappeared,” Schiavello was quoted in Gazzetta di Mantova as saying.

An interpreter was brought in to find out more about Zheng, who is now able to talk and is wheelchair-bound. The interpreter, however, struggled to understand her dialect, thought to be from a rural part of China.

The local health authority has said it is unable to intervene to help Zheng, meanwhile the Italian arm of the Red Cross has said the organization’s China section cannot help transfer her home, Gazzetta di Mantova said.

Doctors have been left with just one lead, after one of Zheng’s visitors left a phone number in the hospital. 

Medical staff got through to a man in Turin, who said Zheng had a son in China and left them with another phone number.

“We were put in touch with him, through an interpreter,” said Schiavello. “After a few telephone calls, he sent us a moving letter in which he thanked us medics and Italy, for looking after his mother. He said he intended to bring her home to China.”

Story continues below…

The Chinese authorities, however, reportedly said they would not pay for Zheng’s journey, adding that the area she is from is ill-equipped to provide the necessary medical assistance.

The medical team in northern Italy has therefore renewed its hunt for a home for Zheng.

“I will ask all institutions, voluntary and humanitarian associations, to help find a solution. For a way in which this patient can be discharged, in complete safety,” Schiavello said. 

Don't miss a story about Italy - Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Generations of glamour unite to toast Bottega Veneta
US star Lauren Hutton takes to the runway with the Bottega bag from American Gigolo. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Hollywood icon Lauren Hutton joined Gigi Hadid on the catwalk as the world of glamour united across the generations to celebrate 50 years of venerated Italian fashion house Bottega Veneta.

Interview
'My problem is too many ideas': Italy's couture king
Francois Guillot / AFP

Giambattista Valli says his fledgling ready-to-wear line is thriving -- thanks to spillover synergy from a haute couture operation that has made him a darling of the celebrity A-list set.

Italy orders man to buy feminist books for prostitute
An image of a customer meeting a prostitute. Photo: Italian investigators

A court in Rome has handed down an unusual penalty to the client of an underage prostitute, ordering him to buy her 30 books on the theme of women's dignity, Italian media reported Friday.

Pope holds multi-faith meeting with Nice victims
Pope Francis kisses a baby on arrival at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP

Pope Francis will on Saturday hold a multi-faith meeting of grieving relatives and survivors of an attack in France in July when a jihadist ploughed his truck into a crowd in Nice.

For one day only: €1 nighttime entry to Italy's cultural sites
Fancy getting up close and personal with David after dark? Photo

Saturday is European Heritage Day, and Italy is celebrating with €1 entry to many of its most famous sites.

The real reasons young Italians aren't having kids
Why have Italians seemingly stopped making babies? File photo: Pexels

Italy's government is campaigning to get Italians to have babies - but what are the reasons behind the slowing birthrate?

Renzi vows to restore quake towns to former glory
Amatrice, the town worst hit by the August 24th quake. Photo: AFP

"The areas will be more beautiful than before," Italy's Prime Minister promised, one month on from the earthquake.

Italy spearheads citizen drive for EU soil policy
Italian farmland. Photo: michael kooiman/Flickr

An area of fertile soil the size of Berlin is lost across the EU each year.

Italian PM dismisses idea of Rome 2024 Olympics
Happier times: Renzi announcing Rome's candidacy for the 2024 Games. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

It looks like it's all over.

Yet another earthquake strikes in central Italy
Damaged houses in Accumoli, where another earthquake has struck. Photo: AFP

Repeated aftershocks since the initial quake have made recovery difficult in the disaster-hit region.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Culture
Eight things you should know about Rome's Spanish Steps
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
National
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
2,529
jobs available