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December 1, 2009

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Injured man compensated after 44 years

A city-level hospital in downtown Jing'an District is paying 120,000 yuan (US$17,577) to compensate a man for its mistake 44 years ago, when he was still an infant, that scalded his left hand and created a disability, a district judge said yesterday.

The hospital, whose name was not revealed by the court, volunteered to pay the compensation though such a long period has passed.

The payment, however, falls far short of the plaintiff's request for more than 2 million yuan.

The plaintiff, who was identified only as Jie, a Henan Province native, said he was sent to the hospital for diarrhea in early 1966 when he was just 26 days old.

Because of a nurse's mistake, a hot-water bag leaked and the hot water scalded Jie's left hand.

Jie's parents didn't ask for any compensation because people at that time knew little about their legal rights.

Jie tried to ask for compensation in 1979 but failed. He approached the hospital again in 2007 and got a medical opinion that he was disabled because three fingers of his left hand were deformed.

Jie sued the hospital in the district court in June. In addition to money for his disability, medical expenses and mental anguish, he wanted the hospital to make up the income he would have earned as a university graduate, because he failed to be enroll in university due to the disability.

Jie said the disability caused him to get divorced four times and try to commit suicide twice.

The hospital admitted its mistake, but argued that the time limit on a civil lawsuit is 20 years. And it said that part of the compensation that Jie sought had nothing to do with the scalding.

The hospital agreed to compensate him 120,000 yuan anyway.


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