Pay fee or give wife's body to science, man told

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 January, 2008, 12:00am

A Beijing hospital has told a migrant worker to pay off 530,000 yuan, or 265 times his monthly earnings, in medical fees or donate his wife's body to medical research, after she died several weeks after giving birth, according to the Beijing Times.

Waiting outside the morgue at the Peking University Third Hospital on Friday, Guo Yulong, was hoping to catch a glimpse of the body of his wife, Zhang Guimei, who suffered from internal bleeding after giving birth at another hospital and died 47 days later, in late July.

'I know, I know, all I want is to take a look at her,' Mr Guo said, when approached by hospital staff to remind him that he must pay before he could take the body away.

According to Henan custom, a deceased person's body should not be left at home for more than three days. After the body has been cremated, a fung shui master should be consulted to pick a date for the ashes to be buried. Having already failed to follow the traditions of their home province, all Mr Guo asks for now is to be able to bring his wife's ashes back home during the Lunar New Year.

But the hospital has given him two alternatives: sign an agreement promising repayment in instalments, or donate the body for medical research - neither of which he feels is an option.

Zhang's treatment cost 530,000 yuan, plus a 40,000 yuan deposit already paid, which Mr Guo had to borrow from relatives. An air-conditioner technician, he earns no more than 2,000 yuan a month. He has a young daughter and baby boy to feed.

But his conscience prevents him from letting his wife be dissected.

The hospital could not be reached for comment yesterday about the body, but a head nurse working in the intensive care unit said that her team had tried its best when treating Zhang.


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