A boy in Sichuan needs help

This is from commenter Pete. If anyone can help answer his questions it will be deeply appreciated.

In my wanderings around Sichuan two weekends ago I met up with a tragic situation. It is a 8 month old minority nationality (Li su) boy who has “water on the brain.” His cranium was the size of a football.

From what I could discern he had had no medical treatment or evaluation because the family was too poor. A long story shortened. I paid to take the boy from the village to the nearest hospital in Xichang. and paid to get him admitted for evaluation.

He is saveable, but needs medical treatment. It can’t be done in
Xichang, but can be done in Chengdu or Guangzhou, BJ.

For the family it is impossible. Cost estimates are 30,000-50,000RMB
for treatment, plus travel costs and accomodations for the parents,

I have three questions.

Does anyone know or can find out if there are any free or extremely
reduced cost medical services for poor Chinese and especially a national minority person?

Anyone have connections with any generous medical facilities, foreign
or otherwise, that would do the treatment for free?

Would anyone join me in raising the money to pay whatever it takes to
get the boy treated?

I believe this situation was not a set up. I had gone out to the
countryside from Xichang by bus. I got off and started asking people if any Li people would like to sell me any of their authentic handmade trinkets or jewelry. A roadside fresh grape seller talked to a group of three Li people. They said they have somethings to sell at their house. So we four trudged off about a kilometer or more to their house. One woman was carrying a child on her back under a wrap. After a while they unwrapped this enormous head. Jeez, a big shock.

Their house was one room with 3 beds. The things they had to sell were not much, but they want big prices from the foreigner. I offered very low and they said they want the high prices to get treatment for the boy.

I found out after some inquiry the had never been to a doctor, at least that is what I think they told me. The boy can see and hear and make noises.

I told the mother, father and grandmother that I would pay a normal
price for the jewelry, a ring, but would pay to get the boy to the
hospital in Xichang and get him in for observation and evaluation.

Now I want to see he gets the treatment. Any good ideas, or suggestions?

The Discussion: 7 Comments

Yeah Pete, write get one of the Chengdu newspapers involved. They would probably eat it up, especially since he is a minority infant. The government wants to make everyone thing they are doing so much for the minorities you know….

I have a friend here near Chengdu, I’ll ask if there’s anything he and his wife can do to help.

August 11, 2005 @ 9:27 am | Comment

Sorry, that should say…get one of the Chengdu newspapers involved.

August 11, 2005 @ 9:30 am | Comment

I have not heard many charity organizations in China that can take care of this case. But principally there is a department in China governments specialized in such cases, which is called ministry of civil affairs (ÃñÕþ²¿.) At the level of city or province, it should be called bureau of civil affairs (ÃñÕþ Ìü.) Poor families usually can apply for the help from there. Every year this department got billions of yuan from its authorized lottery business besides the budget from central government and donations. Although I have absolutely no experience on this, I would go to ÃñÕþ Ìü first at least for some information, and probably the family will get to know the proper channels to deal with this unfortuante event.

August 11, 2005 @ 3:09 pm | Comment

Pete, Can you contact me, I may have a way to assist. I am based in Chongqing right now, so could meet up with you sometime.

August 12, 2005 @ 3:39 am | Comment

May I have the name and address of the family? A picture would be great.

I will forward this information to a friend who is with Doctors Without Border

August 12, 2005 @ 12:54 pm | Comment

Thanks all for the input. I will following up with each suggestion and keep updating this thread.

Gordon, can you give me the names of several newspapers in Chengdu with telephone numbers? Appreciate it.

I do have a photo to send to you Want to Help and the child’s name at this time.

August 12, 2005 @ 5:28 pm | Comment

I’m probably too late for a comment here, but I remember in June the day before I left on holiday the case of this chap who attempted suicide, leaving a note for the medics to use whatever they could of his body to help his little boy. Such a profoundly moving and disturbing story.

August 12, 2005 @ 6:55 pm | Comment

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