Father gives son lifesaving treatment for kidney disease
Li Qingzhong has been keeping his son alive by carrying out renal dialysis at home ever since the 16-year-old was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disorder two years ago.
The teenager suffers from uremia, a buildup of urea in the blood caused by kidney failure, and requires dialysis four times a day.
Li learned how to carry out peritoneal dialysis, the most economical method, at home.
He hoped he could avoid expensive treatments such as a kidney transplant, which would cost at least 300,000 yuan ($48,800), or hemodialysis, involving regular visits to the hospital.
However, despite two years of loving care, the son’s condition is deteriorating and he now needs a transplant.
The family’s situation is made worse by the fact that Li’s daughter also suffers from uremia.
Li learned about peritoneal dialysis at Beijing Haidian Hospital, and then set aside a room at his home in Chengde, Hebei province, to administer the treatment.
The room, measuring just 2 square meters, contains a peritoneal dialysis machine, an ultraviolet lamp to disinfect equipment, and two chairs.
An adjoining room contains boxes of peritoneal dialysis solution that cost 6,000 yuan for a month’s supply.
“At first I was worried that my mishandling of the dialysis process could result in the deterioration of my son’s condition,” said Li, 50.
“Now I have taught my wife and son to do the injection and dialysis.”
Their help means he has some spare time to work and earn money.
The training at Beijing Haidian Hospital consists of four two-hour lessons. More than 100 patients and their families have taken the course.
The main risk is infection, but this can be avoided if the equipment — which costs 1,000 yuan — is disinfected properly.
Doctors and nurses regularly visit patients at home to give guidance and make sure the process goes smoothly.
However, Li now realizes he must find the money to pay for a transplant.
“I want my son to live like a normal person,” he said.
Li and his wife took a test at the hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps on Wednesday to see if their kidneys match their son’s. The results are due next week.
If they do not match, Li will ask the hospital to put his son on the transplant waiting list until a suitable organ is found.
However the family needs help. Li cannot afford the test and medical fees for two patients, let alone a transplant.
The 25-year-old daughter, whose condition is more severe than the son’s, undergoes hemodialysis at a local hospital.
Over the past two years, Li has run up debts as he spent more than 300,000 yuan on treatment.
His daughter’s husband walked out when she was diagnosed in 2012, leaving her with 50,000 yuan following their divorce in February.
Yang Qiuyi, an official at the commission, said it was investigating the family’s situation and will provide help if necessary.
Li Qingzhong, a 50-year-old farmer who was diagnosed with uremia, shows his 16-year-old son with the same disease how to do peritoneal dialysis at their home in Chengde, Hebei province, in April.