The local man arrested Thursday for cutting off his hospitalized sister's leg has tested positive for heroin and told police he tried to "save" her from the evil spirits he believes were responsible for her illness.
Tran Tuan Khuong, 43, said his sister was screaming about being possessed by a ghost, so he severed her leg, thinking the massive flow of blood would chase the ghost from her being, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
He claimed to have had no intention of harming her.
The sister, Tran Thanh Dung, 50, is being treated at Saint Paul Hospital for her cervical cancer, which has spread to her brain.
Nguyen Xuan Dinh, chief investigator at Ba Dinh District Police, said Khuong had heroin in his system when he was taken to the police station, and they are still trying to determine whether the illegal narcotic affected his actions.
Dinh said investigations found the family is poor but its members are devoted to each other and there are no conflicts.
Dung has been delirious and continues to speak of being possessed by a ghost.
Khuong and Dung's daughter Tran Thanh Van, 24, had been taking care of her at the hospital.
Khuong asked Van to hand him a fruit knife near her sickbed to cut her leg when she was having one of her screaming seizures.
Nguyen Cong To, deputy director of the hospital, said the incident happened at around 3 a.m. Thursday and nurses on duty at the time said that Van had helped Khuong, and that they both had threatened nearby staff not to intervene.
To said that as the guards stepped in, Dung was rushed to the emergency department with her right leg cut off at the knee. To said her severed lower leg could not be reattached.
Dung remained in a panicked state during the day and was given sedatives by the doctors in charge.
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