A young reporter's heart is failing mainly because she never had enough money to treat a chronic condition and her family is struggling to scrounge up US$4,800 to pay for the operation needed to save her live.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thom, 26, collapsed on her desk at Binh Dinh Province Radio and Television Station in the south central province last month.
She is suffering from a cerebral infarction, a brain tumor, and a valve insufficiency in which both her heart valves do not close completely. She is being treated at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
The incident came as a surprise to her colleagues and family who knew her only as an indefatigable reporter and an enthusiastic participant in disaster rescue campaigns.
Only Thom knew why. She had a heart condition for a long time but did not have money to treat it.
As a translator and broadcaster at the station, Thom has been paid VND3 million ($144) a month for the past four years.
She gave more than half her earnings to her mother, who single-handedly takes care of three other school children in Hiep Ha, a poor village in the mountainous district of Van Canh.
The family from the ethnic Cham community has a small paddy field and lives at income levels below the government's poverty line, defined as those living on VND400,000 ($19) a month or less.
Thom's colleagues have already helped her with more than VND10 million ($480) for examinations and treatment, but that has all been spent.
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