Burned Chinese boy left without a face will have surgery after Mail Online reader outcry leads to special medical fund
11:38 GMT, 20 April 2012
A Chinese boy left trapped behind a mask of scar tissue after a fire burned his face and hands off is to get the first of a dozen operations to try and restore some of his features.
Wang Xiaopeng has an almost featureless face after the horrific accident two years ago. His parents spent all their savings and took out loans to pay for three months of treatment but cannot afford to pay for any further surgery.
Mail Online readers around the world were shocked to read of the young boy's plight and called for a fund to be set up to help him.
Wang Xiaopeng with his mother. He lost most of his facial features in an accidental fire two years ago
In response a special appeal has been created by the British charity Journalism Without Borders, who will make sure donations will go towards the youngster's medical bills.
The five-year-old has been without hair, lips, eyelids,
and toes since an accident in November 2010. He went up in flames after he
accidentally set light to some corn stalks near his home in Yinchuan in
China's Ningxia Province.
His parents rushed him to Ningxia
Medical University General Hospital where he managed to pull through.
However, he was left severely disfigured and the couple could only
afford to pay for three months of treatment for their beloved son.
They spent their life savings and sold their house and land to cover
the 150,000 yuan bill – equivalent to around 15,000. They now live on a
tiny plot of 0.2 hectares.
His father Wang Yougiu, 32, earns just 200 (2,000 yuan) a month as a dairy farmer, while his mother Zhengwei Xiu, 30, is a housewife.
Xiaopeng's injuries make it
difficult for him to see while all of his fingers were amputated from
the second joint.
He does not go to school, as no schools will admit him, and he only has a few friends who have got used to his appearance.
Now at last there is good news for the young boy after Journalism Without Borders set up an appeal to pay for his medical care.
The Chinese youngster only has a few friends who have become used to his appearance
Xiaopeng before the accident (left) and now as a five-year-old (right)
A journalist from the British charity Journalism Without Borders said: 'We are collecting money for the family to pay the medical costs but they already have enough to start the process.
'We also want to help him with a teacher, so he can make a start on his schooling that will fit around his medical appointments.'
Doctor Li Jinning, from Ningxia Medical University hospital, said Xiaopeng needed a minimum of three surgeries to get an at least 'human' look and probably much more to do a proper job.
Injuries: Wang Xiaopeng's father said the summer makes his burns more painful
Father Yougui said: 'The summer was always the worst for him, the heat makes his burns painful and he really suffers from mosquitoes, but his biggest wish is to one day go to school like the other children. That's why we want him to study now so that he has the basics if the operations go well.'
Although a Communist country, China does not have a cradle-to-grave free-at-the-point of use healthcare system. Instead around half of the population buy basic medical insurance which covers for half the costs of their healthcare. The remainder is paid either by patients or their health insurer.
However, this leaves the poorest in China struggling to meet medical bills for serious condition like Xiaopeng's.
To donate to Wang Xiaopeng's fund please visit www.journalismwithoutborders.com where you can donate via Paypal or credit or debit card