The story appears on

Page A2

December 12, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Nation

Baby's body found in gutter; parents couldn't afford care

PARENTS who left their 3-year-old son with H1N1 flu dead in a gutter surrendered to Guangzhou City police while local health authorities ordered a thorough investigation into the case.

The parents had asked the Guangzhou Children's Hospital to discharge their son because they could not afford further treatment, Guangzhou Daily reported yesterday.

It was not known whether the parents left the boy in the gutter before or after he died. They could be charged with murder if they deserted the boy while he was still alive.

Gong Sitang, vice head of the hospital in south China, said doctors informed the parents that the boy might die if not treated. The family still insisted on taking their son back to their hometown in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Gong said.

The hospital said the boy's condition had improved after being treated for four days before he was discharged. It said he might have been cured if he had been treated for several days more.

Gong said he could not force the boy to stay in the hospital, because swine flu is categorized as a type-B infectious disease over which hospitals have no right to impose compulsory treatment.

The boy's body was found on Wednesday afternoon in a dry gutter in Guangzhou's Baiyun District. A medical record was found beside the body which showed that he was diagnosed with swine flu.

Police said the dead body was very infectious and cordoned off the area while disease control crew sanitized the body.

The medical bill of the boy showed that the four days in hospital cost the family 19,308 yuan (US$2,828). The family still owes the hospital more than 6,000 yuan (US$880).

Gong said the hospital never pressed the family for payment and was "sorry for the parents' heartbreaking choice," the newspaper reported.

The city has set up a fund for poverty-stricken patients who cannot afford medical bills, yet the quota was only 7,000 yuan each, said Xiong Yuanda, spokesman of the Guangzhou Health Bureau.

China's health administration required last month that all medical expenses of H1N1 patients be covered by national health insurance. It also ruled that hospitals cannot force H1N1 patients to leave because of trouble paying.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend