A long line of worried parents carrying their babies stood in the courtyard of Renmin Hospital of northern Hebei Province Wednesday.
A woman and her baby return Sanlu brand milk powders in a supermarket in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Sept. 17, 2008.
Some arrived around 5:00 a.m., two hours before the hospital opened. Their children all drank formula made by the Sanlu Group.
Three children died and a total of 6,244 infants are now confirmed sick after drinking milk powder contaminated by melamine. Of those, 1,327 babies, the majority newborns, remain hospitalized.
Peng Jing, a mother in her twenties, was cuddling her two-month-old son in her arms. At the same time, Peng's husband registered the baby for sonographic scans of his kidney and urine tests.
"My son only drank about two small bags of Sanlu powdered milk," said Peng. "He seems OK, but we want to be 100 percent sure he is healthy so we came to have the tests."
The Chinese government promised to cover exam fees and treatment for all children diagnosed with kidney diseases caused by the contaminated milk.
The Renmin Hospital, the city's largest, examined about 470 children Tuesday. As of Wed. morning, doctors had already seen 500 patients. More were expected in the afternoon.
In all, around 2,000 children came to the hospital for tests between Sept. 12 and 16, said a source at Renmin.
"On Sept. 12, about 70 children came to our hospital for kidney tests. The figure was unusually high," said a hospital official with the surname of Sui. He was reluctant to give his full name. "The number of parents seeking tests increased even faster in the following days."
Doctors, nurses and administrative staff are all mobilized to receive the large influx of child patients.
A booth was set up in the hospital's courtyard to seat children and their parents as the registration hall was too small. Each child was given a number card so testing could be done individually.
The hospital's five sonographic scanners were in full operation. Sui said two new machines, bought by the government, will arrive Wednesday night.