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System needed to help patients

By He Dan (China Daily)

08:30, January 31, 2013

Li Shuwen receives money donated by couples whose only child has died at Beijing's You'anmen Hospital on Sunday. A road accident left Li and his wife Liu Juan, also a childless couple, seriously injured. (China Daily/Chai Cheng)

A recent road accident that left a Beijing couple seriously injured has renewed calls to establish a system that can provide financial and other help to couples who have lost their only child.

Liu Juan, 52, was taking an evening stroll with her husband Li Shuwen on Jan 24 when they were hit by a metal height-limit rod, which had been knocked over by a truck.

She remains in a coma in intensive care at You'anmen Hospital, with a brain injury, while her husband Li suffered four fractured ribs and a bruised lung.

Liu Fuli, Liu's brother, is the only relative who has visited the couple.

"The doctor told me she is still in critical condition and the best result for her may be that she remains in a vegetative state for the rest of her life," he said.

"Li's condition is much better than my sister's, but we dare not tell him yet what her condition is."

The couple's only daughter died in a traffic accident at the age of 14 in 2001.

They were too saddened to try for another child, and both were just in their 40s at the time, Liu said.

"Li is an orphan, so he has no family members to help him. On my sister's side, our mother is in her 80s and our oldest brother has cancer, so I have to be responsible for signing all the surgery papers," said Liu, who also has a medical condition after having a heart stent installed.

Liu says he is already feeling the pressure of having to cover the couple's medical expenses.

"The medical fees have reached 90,000 yuan ($14,500) and if my sister stays one more day in ICU, I will be given another bill for about 8,000 yuan," he said.

"Next week, I have to borrow money to keep them in the hospital," he said.

He added that the driver of the van involved in the accident visited the couple and gave him 3,000 yuan toward the medical costs.

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