When Hu Songwen was studying meteorology in Nanjing in 1993, he was diagnosed with renal failure (the inability of the kidneys to excrete waste and maintain electrolyte balance). After six years of paying expensive hospital bills and burning through his family’s savings, Hu decided to build his own dialysis machine from scratch.
“As long as you have a high school degree, understand the principle of dialysis, follow the operational instructions and keep a close watch during the process, nothing should go wrong,” he said to the Southern Weekly newspaper.
“The most important part of the machine is the filter, and I can use each one eight times. A new filter costs £10, while a proper medical machine can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds”.
Hu posted a video of his machine online after learning that a new medical insurance scheme would cover the treatment he needed. Under the new regulations, Hu will be able to receive professional treatment for around the same price as using his shanzai dialysis machine. When Hu told doctors how he’d been treating himself for the past 13 years, “they said I was crazy”.