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June 13, 2014

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Searching for families of hospital children

A POLICE officer in Shanghai’s Jing’an District first began looking for the parents of eight children left in the Shanghai Children’s Hospital in 2012, but two still remain there.

When Zhao Gengyuan received the task — with information on their parents, including names, addresses and telephone numbers — he thought it would be an easy job to find family members. But in fact it proved extremely difficult, as most of the information was false.

Four children have been taken home by their families, one has been sent to a welfare house, one died and two are still living in the hospital, according to Oriental Morning Post.

Alimu, a 2-and-a-half-year-old girl, is one of the children still there. The survivor of premature twins born in Putuo District, she was transferred to the children’s hospital.

Her twin sister died of a serious infection while their mother, from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, disappeared, according to the report.

Alimu lives in a 12-square-meter room filled with toys bought by nurses and members of the public people who have got to know her story.

Without a residence permit, she cannot receive vaccinations, which should be received by all children under 6-years old, said a nurse surnamed Du.

Nurses manage to keep her away from patients to prevent her from getting infections.

She is healthy now, but seldom leaves the ward.

Having stayed alone in the room for too long, she is less developed than her peers. She cannot even say her own name completely.

As nurses are all busy with their work, nobody can look after her all the time and teach her living skills.

Zhao could not find Alimu’s mother according to the information she had left in the hospital, but the police officer managed to find the child’s aunt in 2013.

Zhao left his name and telephone number, hoping Alimu’s mother would call him. However, he has received no calls.

Left in limbo

But the contact has left Alimu in limbo. As her relatives could be contacted, Alimu cannot be sent to a welfare house or adopted.

No one knows how long she will have to live in the hospital.

The other child living in the hospital is known as Duoduo, said police, but revealed no more details.

The child who was sent to a welfare house is called Chen Cheng. The child — police didn’t say whether Chen is a boy or a girl — was sent to the hospital in July 2010 with intracranial hemorrhage and severe anemia. Chen recovered after treatment but the contact information provided by the child’s parents proved false.

As all trails went cold, the child was sent to a charity home in 2013.

However, four children were brought back together with their families.

Gao Li had spent the longest time in the children’s hospital and was the first to be reunited with her parents.

She was admitted on May, 2009, two hours after her birth, and was diagnosed with neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, neonatal severe asphyxia, respiratory insufficiency, neonatal pneumonia, intracranial hemorrhage, congenital heart disease and other conditions.

After two weeks of treatment, she achieved a more stable level but her parents could not be contacted.

In 2012, Zhao went to the address they left with the hospital but found that they had moved away.

Their neighbors helped Zhao find their new home but the man there said Gao Li was the daughter of a colleague.

The man said he had accompanied the colleague to take the girl to hospital and the colleague had returned to his hometown afterward.

Zhao was suspicious and took him back to the police station, where they had a heart-to-heart talk and he showed him photographs of the girl.

Eventually, the man admitted that he was the father.

“He said he was a migrant worker and his boss failed to pay him. So he could not raise the baby,” Zhao said.

“He also said he missed his daughter but could do nothing without money.”

Gao was finally taken back by her parents after a paternity test proved she was the man’s daughter.


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