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December 9, 2009

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Xi'an hospital is blamed in theft of baby

HEALTH authorities have blamed a northwest China hospital for the theft of a newborn baby last month, saying the culprit took advantage of inadequate security measures.

"The First Hospital affiliated to Xi'an Jiaotong University is responsible for the theft," Ge Yunfeng, a press official with the Shaanxi provincial health department, said yesterday.

But the health department was unable to take disciplinary action as yet, because the university was responsible for any personnel changes or penalize anyone in its organization, he said.

Ge Qianru, a 20-year-old peasant woman from Shaanxi, is alleged to have donned a nurse uniform and taken a baby girl from the hospital on November 21, only 15 hours after the baby was born. She allegedly used a fake birth certificate to board a flight to southern China's Guangdong Province with the baby.

Police seized the woman in Dongguan, a manufacturing base in Guangdong, on November 30. The baby was reunited with her parents two days later after a DNA test.

Yan Xiaohong, the baby's father, said he was ready to sue the hospital for the distress to his family.

"My wife was so distraught that she was beside herself," said Yan, a migrant worker who was not in Xi'an when his wife, 32-year-old Zhang Lanfang, had a Caesarean section. "The baby also had abnormal heart murmurs in the latest health check."

The baby had a cold and was feverish after she was taken to Dongguan. Ge Qianru was detained when she allegedly took the baby to a hospital in Dongguan, said Huang Lin, a police officer from Xi'an.

Yan said he had named the girl Yan Anzhe - "An" for police and "zhe" for journalists. "The name conveys my thanks for the police officers and press who helped find my daughter," he said.

Meanwhile, Yan said he was collecting evidence to file the lawsuit and would demand 110,000 yuan (US$16,100) in compensation. But with the baby still in the hospital, Yan said he couldn't get the birth certificate, which is crucial for the lawsuit.

Management of the hospital insisted they too were victims.

"It's very hard for us to monitor every single person coming and leaving the hospital every day," said Li Xu, president of the hospital. "But we did everything we could to help find the baby, and will continue to assist authorities in their investigation."


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