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Hospitals in Shanghai Charged for Baby Boy's Disability
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Two hospitals in Shanghai are accused of causing a baby boy to be born brain-damaged and blind.

The No 3 Hospital affiliated with Jiaotong University is said to have delayed delivering the infant, while the Children's Hospital of Fudan University is accused of trying euthanasia on him, an illegal practice in China.

The baby survived but with severe handicaps.

"It was their fault the child cannot stand, speak or see at the age of three," said Tang Jianli, the parents' attorney.

The parents, Yu Dejun and Sun Baoru, are demanding compensation of up to 7 million yuan (US$875,000) from the two hospitals.

Shanghai Xuhui District People's Court opened the case yesterday.

The mother Sun went to the No 3 Hospital on March 4, 2003, five days over her due date.

"A test at 10 am found the baby's heart rate at 90 beats per minute and a second test two hours later found it at 102, far slower than the standard of 120 to 160 beats per minute," said attorney Tang Jianli.

"But the hospital did not carry out a Caesarean until eight in the evening."

"The baby's exhausted respiratory system and lower levels of oxygen in the blood seriously damaged his brain, and they did not put him under proper care afterwards."

The baby was sent to his mother's ward later on but he kept crying and his face turned completely purple after four hours, the indictment said. At that time, he was found to have stopped breathing.

After treatment he began to breathe again and was transferred to the Children's Hospital of Fudan University the next day.

"There, he was soon transferred out of intensive care, when he was still in a critical condition," Tang said.

"From March 17 the hospital kept suggesting euthanasia to the parents.

The doctors told them the baby would stay in a vegetative condition forever, even after all the treatment."

The parents finally agreed and the hospital removed the breathing machine. However, the baby was still alive after many hours, the indictment said.

"The Children's Hospital then applied treatment at the request of the parents, but the damage to the brain and eyesight was irrevocable. It was all because of the hospital's wrong judgment."

A previous appraisal from a court designated committee found the first hospital partly responsible for the injury, and the second innocent.

Huang Huiming, attorney with the No 3 Hospital, claimed the hospital had applied appropriate treatment on time.

"But we would like to pay a certain amount of compensation, as the appraisal said we had a minor responsibility," Huang said.

The Children's Hospital of Fudan University denied it had ever suggested or applied euthanasia.

"We simply told the parents any possible problems the baby would suffer due to his condition, and that was our responsibility as a hospital."

A verdict has yet to be reached.

(China Daily August 16, 2006)

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