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December 6, 2012

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Home » Opinion » Press Notes

Death of homeless migrant sparks ire

PUBLIC trust in authorities has been shaken by the death of a sick migrant worker, Liu Hongwei, who was living under an elevated highway and left alone for 20 days in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province.

The city's health bureau said Liu had rejected emergency treatment when an ambulance arrived, while his fellows, also migrants seeking work, dismissed the official line. They said Liu never said he wouldn't go to a hospital but lacked money to pay for treatment, according to the Dahe Daily.

It's hard to figure out the truth after his death and it's meaningless to dwell on details. The cruel fact is that Liu died of destitution and illness, which can strike down many other migrant workers.

Actually, it makes little difference whether this poor and sick migrant had once said yes or no to the medical treatment because he was too weak to make an informed decision and couldn't cover the medical bills.

Further, ambulances only take doctors to the scene of an emergency call, but their staff are not responsible for admitting patients to hospitals. Patients decide whether to receive further treatment.

We should promote our social security system and care for homeless people so that similar tragedies do not occur again.

On one hand, migrant workers are encouraged to build their own mutual-aid communities. On the other, medical emergency centers are expected to first save the lives of needy people, rather than strictly follow protocol and ask for payment before treatment.


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