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Boy beaten close to death by step mom in city hospital

A four-year-old boy was admitted to a local children's hospital today with skull fractures and water on the brain after his stepmother allegedly beat him close to death.

Little Yu Zhongbao from Henan Province is expected to undergo reconstructive surgery on his skull next Wednesday when doctors will also drain the remaining water that has accumulated on his brain due to the injury.

"We were shocked to see Yu's injuries when he arrived at our hospital," said Dr Bao Nan, director of Shanghai Children's Medical Center's neurosurgery department. "Such serious brain injury could only be caused by falling from a building, traffic accidents and serious battery."

Dr Bao said the loss of his skull bone and the remaining water on his brain still threatened Yu's life, adding the boy urgently needed surgery.

"Fortunately, a checkup has found that the boy doesn't suffer intelligence or vision loss due to the brain injury. We are confident about his recovery after the surgery and rehabilitation treatment," he said.

Yu is an illegitimate child, whose mother left him soon after birth. He was raised by his father who later got married.

According to Yu's grandparents, the boy's stepmother constantly abused him as she considered him a "troublesome burden."

The tragic beating took place on April 8, when the stepmother battered Yu unconscious.

Yu was sent to a hospital in Zhengzhou, Henan's capital, with serious brain injuries and underwent surgery to remove blood from his brain. Part of his skull was improperly removed, causing his right forehead to collapse.

He was then transferred to another hospital in Zhengzhou in mid-July to drain water that has accumulated in his brain, and which has paralyzed the left part of his body.

Only his grandparents companied the boy, while his father and stepmother fled after the event. Police in Henan are still searching for the couple.

Yu's story soon caught the media's attention and has since inspired charity organizations and volunteers to raise money and find treatment for the boy.


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