Sino-US doctors join hands to fix young hearts

Updated: 2014-05-02 11:36

By May Zhou in Houston (China Daily USA)

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 Sino-US doctors join hands to fix young hearts

Chinese Consul for Cultural Affairs in Houston Yang Song (left) unveils the AZQ Charity Foundation plaque at the ceremony with Li Husong (second from left), Feng Jianwei (second from right) and Qu Zheng (right). May Zhou / China Daily

AQZ Charity Foundation (AQZ), a group dedicated to helping children with congenital heart disease from poor families in China, was launched in Houston on Wednesday night.

AQZ is a branch of Beijing Qu Zheng Charity Foundation (BQZ), a Chinese charity founded by Dr Qu Zheng, vice-president of China Meitan General Hosptial and former visiting professor at the Texas Heart Institute.

Founders of AQZ include Dr Feng Jianwei, chairman of the heart and vascular institute at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston; Dr Li Husong, associate professor at the Medical School of the University of Texas in Galveston and Qu.

Feng said AQZ will focus on treating children with congenial heart disease because millions of Chinese children are suffering from this illness without financial means of getting treatment.

"If this condition is corrected at a young age, the child can grow up to be a normal contributing member of society. If the treatment opportunity is missed at young age, the patient would later suffer in growth and many die young. We try to focus on the most crucial point of curing this disease," Feng explained.

Qu, who initiated the program in Beijing, said during his past charity work he realized that many sponsors prefer one-on-one relationships with the patients, that is, each sponsor chooses a child to support. To facilitate such efforts, he formally established BZQ in May 2012. "We have treated more than 100 children since then. We have four cooperating hospitals nationwide now, and will expand to more than 10 soon."

Li further explained that sponsors dictate the terms of how and where the donation is used. BQZ and AQZ will provide a patient list for sponsors to choose from, the process is transparent and 100 percent of all donations will be used for treatment with no administrative cost.

Lo Bowen, CFO of RIGID Global Buildings, is the first Houstonian to sponsor a case. "I went to visit my relatives in Beijing last year and Dr Qu asked me if I was willing to sponsor a little girl who needed such treatment. I said yes. The operation was a success and I visited her and her family later. They were very happy and it makes me feel very good to see my money has made such an impact on someone else's life," said Lo.

According to Qu, the average cost for an operation to correct congenial heart disease in China ranges from $4,000 to $8,000 with an average cost of $5,000. "There are more complicated and expensive cases, but we focus on treatment in this cost range," Qu said.

Chinese Consul Yang Song and Gao Hua attended the event. Yang praised the doctors' efforts to help the vulnerable population in China, "I am very happy to see this charity work spread from Beijing to Houston. This is the embodiment of the traditional Chinese virtue and Western values of universal love."

At the evening's end, five companies and seventeen individuals opened their pockets and donated a total of $48,450 to AZQ, enough to treat approximately 10 children.