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'Miracle professor' embraces life after four limbs amputated

2017/09/17 19:31:43

Wang Chih-yuan (王致遠, center)

Kaohsiung, Sept. 17 (CNA) He is known to his students as the "miracle professor" after wowing them by showing up in class to teach just a year after nearly dying of an unknown infection that cost him all four of his limbs.

Wang Chih-yuan (王致遠), an assistant professor in business management at National Sun Yat-sen University in this southern Taiwan city, is the person whose arduous journey and whose resolve to stay alive has earned him a 2017 Fervent Global Love of Lives Award presented by the Taipei-based Chou Ta-kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation.

On Sunday, Wang told the public at a press conference how he chose to live with a positive mind.

"It's extremely painful when you've just lost four limbs," Wang said, admitting that the pain dragged him to the dark reaches of his mind and had him contemplating suicide.

But by changing his mental outlook and seeing his misfortune as an opportunity given him by the heavens to experience something extraordinary, he took his life back, he said.

In September 2015, Wang and his girlfriend went hiking in the mountains in eastern Taiwan. After their return, Wang developed a steady fever and was admitted to a hospital in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan.

There he was diagnosed as having an unknown infection, which led to the failure of multiple organs.

Wang was eventually rescued from death's hands, but doctors had to amputate his four limbs that were infected with necrosis-causing bacteria as doctors fought to save his life, according to the foundation.

With artificial arms and legs, Wang resumed his teaching career at the university on Sept. 21, 2016, and students honored his return by calling out "miracle" when he stood at the podium, the foundation said.

In March this year, Wang received a surgical transplant for both his arms after he was dissatisfied with his electronic ones, which he complained did not allow him to function on his own.

He said Sunday that he is still trying to get used to his new hands, and while they are not as nimble as he would hope, "at least they are mine, allowing me to pick my nose and satisfy an itch."

Wang said he hoped he could type on a computer keyboard with his 10 fingers in the future.

The loss of limbs, though tormenting, was like a "special opportunity" given to him by the heavens, Wang said, which allowed him to experience what the average person never encounters, such as being fitted with artificial arms and legs and getting arm transplants.

"Now I know it's a blessing to be able to go to the bathroom or take a shower on my own," he said.

The Chou Ta-kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation was established in memory of child cancer fighter Chou Ta-kuan (周大觀), who died in 1997 at the age of 10.

The "Fervent Global Love of Lives Award" was set up by his parents to commemorate Chou's love of life and indomitable spirit and to encourage people to cherish and respect life.

(By Hsu Chih-wei and Elizabeth Hsu)
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