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After donor loses eye, society to set up fund

(Shanghai Daily)

11:44, September 24, 2011

SHANGHAI - A special fund will be set up to help medical donors who suffer problems, Red Cross Society of China officials in East China have promised.

The vow follows shock over the news that a woman lost the sight in one eye after giving blood.

"We plan to launch a fund for blood, stem cell and organ donors and their relatives, which will offer aid if they meet difficulties after making donations," said Cai Gang, secretary-general of the society's branch in Ningbo, Zhejiang province.

He said he hopes the public and private enterprises will contribute to the fund.

The announcement comes amid an ongoing argument between a blood collection station in Ningbo and the family of a girl who say her donation directly resulted in an accident that left her visually impaired.

Xiao Jiahui gave blood at a collection point at lunchtime on Aug 10 last year. When she returned home, she complained of feeling dizzy and then fainted in the bathroom, hitting her left eye on a corner of a chair as she fell.

Her father, Xiao Yuanliang, found her lying on the floor and rushed her to hospital, but doctors were unable to save her eye.

"Medics this year told us Xiao's eye is at the eighth level of blindness (level 10 is the most severe)," said Xiao Yuanliang. "She insisted she did not want the eye to be removed, but she'll need an artificial one in the future."

The family argues that the station, operated by Ningbo Blood Center, should take at least partial responsibility.

"My daughter wanted to give 200 milliliters, as it was her first time to donate, but the nurse persuaded her to donate 300 ml, although the center has never admitted that," said Xiao Yuanliang.

He said that, in the last 12 months, his family has spent more than 60,000 yuan ($9,390) on treatments and medicine, and claimed that the blood station refuses to cover any medical fees.

"We've tried to communicate with the blood center, but all we've received from them is 10,000 yuan, which includes 5,000 yuan in compensation from the insurance company," he said.

To raise awareness of her plight, Xiao Jiahui wrote about her experiences online on Sept 11, attracting much interest among netizens nationwide.

A spokesman for Ningbo Blood Center dismissed claims it is responsible for her injuries and insisted efforts have been made to help the family.

"It's normal for a nurse to ask blood donors to give 100 ml more in order to increase the average amount donated by each person," said Zhou Jianlin, deputy director of the center.

According to Chinese law, the maximum amount of blood that can be donated at one time is 400 ml.

"We didn't cause this tragedy, so we're not responsible for making up any losses, but we do feel very sorry about the way Xiao (Jiahui) has suffered," Zhou said.

He added that the center will help the family as much possible by raising money from the China Red Cross and other charitable sources to ease their financial burden.

Xiao Jiahui recently graduated college and initially struggled to find work, fearing that her dream of being a teacher was ruined. However, her father said she was eventually hired by a private kindergarten in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang.

After reading about Xiao Jiahui's accident, Zong Bo, a resident in the coastal city of Qinhuangdao, Hebei province, who has congenital heart disease, announced he wanted to launch a 1-million-yuan fund to help her.

"Her left eye can't be cured as the eyeball has atrophied, so we don't need the donation from the kindly man," said Xiao Yuanliang, speaking about Zong. What the family really wants is compensation from the blood center, he added.

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