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Man Agrees to Repay Hospital over 106 Years

A migrant worker in Beijing has signed a 106-year deal to repay 530,000 yuan (US$73,496) that his family owes a hospital so that he can claim his wife's body.

Guo Yuliang from Henan Province, in his 30s, handed the payment agreement to Peking University Third Hospital on Thursday, the Beijing Times reported yesterday. The hospital had refused to return the body of Zhang Guimei, Guo's wife, since she died in July from blood loss after giving birth, the report said.

"My family will keep our word and pay back all the money," Guo told the newspaper. "My son or even my grandchildren will continue to do that after my death."

Zhang, a 29-year-old farmer, died on July 27, 47 days after she was rushed to the hospital with bleeding, the report said.

She gave birth to a 3.3-kilogram boy on June 10 at Beijing's Shangdi Hospital, the report said.

Medical fees at Peking University Third Hospital mounted to 530,000 yuan for Zhang's treatment after Guo had already paid 50,000 yuan. The money was mostly borrowed from relatives, the report added.

Peking University hospital denied Guo his right to claim Zhang's body. The hospital demanded Guo pay the medical fees but gave him another option when it became apparent he didn't have the money, the report said.

The hospital said it would cancel the debt if Guo agreed to donate Zhang's body for medical study, the report said. He refused the offer.

"I would blame myself for my whole life if I agreed to that," Guo, who has only primary school education, told the newspaper.

According to his calculations, he can pay back 5,000 yuan a year, which means it will take 106 years to clear the debt.

Guo, who works as an air-conditioner delivery man in the capital, earns up to 2,000 yuan in the summer but his income drops to 600 yuan to 900 yuan in the winter, the report said.

He has a six-year-old daughter, an eight-month-old son and his father to support, the report said.

"I feel sorry for my children for the burden I passed on to them," Guo told the newspaper. "I haven't given them any happiness yet, only the debt."

Hospital staff said they will deliver Guo's payment pledge to higher authorities and required him to find a person to guarantee his pledge, the report said.

Guo named his son Guo Jingxin. Jing means he was born in Beijing and Xin, a Chinese character composed of three "jin," or gold in Chinese, means his birth cost a huge amount of money, the report said.

(Shanghai Daily January 26, 2008)

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