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Worker has his chest cut open to prove claim

A WORKER in Henan Province had surgeons cut open his chest to prove he had a work-related ailment.

The move came after his former employer refused to pay compensation when the local occupational disease authority denied he had developed the illness.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions has launched an investigation into the case, yesterday's Orient Today newspaper reported.

Zhang Haichao, a 28-year-old native of Henan's Xinmi City, started feeling unwell in August 2007. He visited more than 10 hospitals in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province, and Beijing, where he was diagnosed as having pneumoconiosis, a lung disease caused by the inhalation of dust, the report said.

He linked the disease to his work at Zhendong Abrasive Materials Co Ltd from August 2004 to October 2007, where he had taken three jobs, all involving close contact with dust. To claim compensation from Zhendong, Zhang went to the Zhengzhou Occupation-related Diseases Control and Prevention Center for a health assessment. According to the rules, the center is the only authority permitted to diagnose occupational diseases in the province.

In May, the center denied Zhang had developed the disease and suggested he had tuberculosis.

Unconvinced, Zhang visited the 1st Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University and insisted on surgery to open his chest to prove he had pneumoconiosis.

"Doctors told me it was dangerous to undergo that surgery, and they said they knew I was suffering from pneumoconiosis by looking at the X-ray.

"But I had no choice," Zhang said.

During the operation on June 22, doctors detected a large quantity of coal dust residue in his lungs.

The Zhengzhou center said Zhang could apply for another medical assessment with this new evidence.


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