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Chinese woman has Civil War-era shrapnel removed from leg

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AFP

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Mrs Hu had had a bullet lodged in her left leg for 72 years

A 90-year-old Chinese woman has had shrapnel removed from her leg, which had been lodged there since 1945, reports say.

According to the national Guangming Daily newspaper, Hu Jinhua and her husband were fleeing their home in eastern China to escape the Sino-Japanese War and the second stage of the Chinese Civil War, when she was hit in an attack by a Japanese aircraft in southern Guangxi.

Mrs Hu was four months pregnant at the time, and she and her husband would not have been able to afford the medical fees, the report said. Instead, “she had dragged her bleeding thigh and moved on”, intending to reach the southwest city of Kunming, where they had relatives.

The next day, she was picked up by guerrilla fighters, who were unable to remove the shrapnel, but bandaged up her leg as a temporary measure.

Mrs Hu has only recently had the 1cm-long piece of metal removed at a hospital in southern Hunan province, as a result of acute pain she began experiencing in October, brought on by her legs becoming swollen in old age.

The shrapnel had caused her swollen left leg to become deformed, and had left her bedridden. Doctors had considered amputation, but feared she might not survive.

They eventually opted to carry out surgery to remove the shrapnel and used a plastic mould as a synthetic bone substitute to repair the remaining damage.

Mrs Hu is now recovering from her operation, Chinese media say.

Reporting by Kerry Allen

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