Orphanage owner in hospital

Updated: 2013-01-08 07:55

By Xiang Mingchao and He Na (China Daily)

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Two days after the fatal fire that swept through her house in Lankao county, Henan province, Yuan Lihai was admitted to the local hospital. Her sister sat at the bedside, using paper towels to wipe away tears and dipping cotton-buds in water to moisten Yuan's parched lips. "You must be strong. Don't fall down," she said, encouragingly.

Yuan's oldest son, Du Peng leaned against the wall of the hospital ward and lowered his voice whenever he discussed his mother's condition on his phone. The calls came in every few minutes.

"My mother has had heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes for a long time. She has hardly slept since the fire," he said.

A number of neighbors had also volunteered to take care of Yuan in the ward. "She was distraught after the fire and struggled to be strong in front of people. It's really been a great shock for her," said one neighbor.

Guo Xinfeng, the doctor attending Yuan, said her blood pressure had risen to a dangerous level. "Luckily her family sent her to the hospital in time. Her blood pressure is now under control, and so far we haven't found any other abnormalities," he said.

Yuan became the focus of media attention following the fire. Although many people have expressed sympathy for her suffering, she has also been the subject of suspicion and complaints about her adoptions.

"My mother hasn't rested since the tragedy. The weight of public pressure almost drove her to the edge of collapse. I hope the public can be more tolerant, because she's really been doing good things and with a kind heart," said her youngest son, Du Ming.

(China Daily 01/08/2013 page6)