While the boy’s mother weeps in the background, doctors surround 11-year-old Liang Yaoyi’s gurney and bow.
Moments later, the body was rushed into surgery so that the child’s organs could be used to save desperately sick transplant patients, in accordance with his wishes.
The moving shot was taken last month at Zhongshan University Hospital, China, where schoolboy Liang died of brain cancer.
Despite his traumatic battle with the disease, Liang’s final thoughts were for the lives of others. His last request was that his organs be donated.
The youngster, from Shenzhen, near the border with Hong Kong, stunned his grief-stricken parents with his insistence that his body be used to help patients in urgent need of transplants, a request which belied a maturity far beyond his years.
Liang’s gesture is all the more impressive because voluntary organ donation is a relatively new concept in China. The first national organ registry was set up in 2010 – until then, the majority of organs for transplant came from executed prisoners.
At first, CCTV reports, his parents were opposed to the idea, but they came to understand why their son, aware that he would never fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor, wanted to use his final act on earth to save lives in another way.
When he finally lost his fight against the devastating disease, there was little time for grieving. Medics had no choice but to get him into surgery as quickly as possible in order to remove his kidneys and liver.
Nevertheless, Liang’s doctors still made time to pay tribute their selfless patient, taking a moment to bow three times before the gurney, an act traditionally performed at Chinese funerals to honor the dead.
Just eight hours after his death, Liang got his wish – his kidney and liver had already been used to save the lives of two people.
The UK is also in urgent need of organ donors, with NHS waiting times as long as three years for some operations