Fourth family saves child's life

A CHILD already abandoned three times underwent successful heart surgery in Shanghai yesterday, leaving the boy's fourth adoptive family worried about medical fees for follow-up treatment.

The foster parents of 20-month-old Cui Chenxi, from Shandong Province, have sold most of their property to save the child's life.

In February last year, Qian Fenglan, from Heze County in Shandong, found the baby lying on the ground near a village. The gaunt child was covered by a large bamboo hat.

"He looked healthy, but did not make any sound," said Qian. "Later I found his tongue was stuck to his lips."

Qian, 47, was happy to find the baby as she and her husband had always wanted a son, and she saw this as a "gift from heaven." The couple took the baby to hospital to be examined but the results were shocking.

"The doctors knew he was not my son because it was the fourth time they had seen the baby," said Cui Kaichun, the child's foster father. "Each time he was brought to the hospital by different people, and they all said they had found the baby on the street.

"The doctor also told us the baby had congenital heart disease, which could not be cured."

Taking responsibility for the child, the couple began a long quest to seek medical treatment - from Jinan, Shandong's capital city, to Beijing, and eventually to Shanghai.

During this process, they sold their house and used all the money they had saved for their own daughter to cover medical expenses.

Later, with the help of some non-government organizations, they raised the 60,000 yuan (US$9,442) medical fee for a heart operation at the Shanghai Children's Medical Center.

Doctors said the surgery was a success, and the child is now in intensive care, but as the boy missed the best time for treatment he will need complicated follow-up therapy.

"His name is Chenxi, meaning 'morning's hope,'" said his new parents. "Thus we will not give up hope that he will live."


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