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March 25, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Baby bliss as runaway woman has benefactors

AFTER five-day search, Shanghai doctors and police finally located a critically ill pregnant woman who refused hospital admittance and left a false address.

Fortunately this story has a happy ending after the appearance of a perfectly healthy baby boy.

The woman was discharged from Renji Hospital on Tuesday after giving birth to the boy, the Shanghai Health Bureau said yesterday.

Lu Zhihuan, 27, originally from northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, is married to a Shanghainese man and had fallen on hard times,officials said.

Neither partner has a stable job, and she has a handicapped mother-in-law and a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The entire family depends on her husband's meager income as a guard.

Heart disease

The woman, surnamed Lu, was 31 weeks pregnant when she left the hospital even though a medical checkup on February 25 found she had congenital heart disease, circulation problems and other ailments that could kill her and the fetus at any time.

She told doctors she feared huge medical bills.

"For such a critically ill patient, a hospital must give treatment no matter whether he or she has the money to pay the bill or not," said Tan Shan, a Renji Hospital official.

"Lu's medical bill was 20,000 yuan (US$2,930). She paid 5,000 yuan when leaving the hospital and the rest of the money will be covered by government subsidies."

The platelet test results on Lu that arrived on February 27 were dire, indicating imminent hemorrhaging.

The hospital contacted Lu immediately by phone to arrange admittance.

Mother called

She failed to show up on March 1 as promised, switched off her cell phone and doctors could not find her at the address she left on her medical records.

The hospital asked for police aid and officers tracked her to a Putuo District address.

Health officials went to Lu's home and she accompanied them to Renji Hospital that afternoon.

However, she absconded again the same night.

"Health officials then knew her background and her poor financial situation," said Song Guofan, a bureau official.

"Officials called her mother in Heilongjiang in a bid to get Lu to see reason.

"They asked the mother to come to Shanghai to accompany Lu to hospital and help the family in the application process for government subsidies to cover medical expenses."

On March 3 Lu was persuaded to return to Renji Hospital.

Doctors performed Caesarean surgery on March 13 to successfully deliver the boy.


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