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Injured on the job? Uninsured? Use a coworker's insurance policy!

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Shenzhen Evening News, April 28, 2010

In a story similar to yesterday's report in the Dongguan Times about an infant held hostage over an unpaid hospital bill, today's Shenzhen Evening News reports on the sad case of Li Zhanfeng (李展锋), a security guard who was hospitalized after being stabbed while trying to stop a robbery.

His company had not registered him for work-related injury insurance, so he was treated at the hospital under the name of another employee who did have insurance. He reclaimed his name but now owes more than 30,000 RMB in outstanding medical bills that his former employer refuses to pay.

Seriously Wounded While Stopping a Thief, He Woke Up "Renamed" After Surgery

He could only apply for worker-related injury insurance by changing his name;
When Li Zhanfeng, a kind and honest web cafe guard, insisted on reclaiming his own name, his treatment stopped

text by Bu Fan, photos by Chen Yuanzhong / SEN

Li Zhanfeng sat on his hospital bed looking out of the window, one hand supporting his chin, the other hanging listlessly. The glitzy Huaqiangbei Commercial Street lies off in the distance, while an endless flow of cars crosses Huangmugang Bridge just below the window. He watched without expression for the 300th day.

Back when he had just awakened, Li had the impulse to jump out the window whenever he looked at the ugly scars on his body. But now he is merely confused: "I never did anything bad my entire life. Why is fate treating me like this?"

He was seriously injured after sticking his neck out for a girl he had never met, but when he arrived at the hospital he learned he had no work-related injury insurance. After he woke up from surgery, his identity had been changed: he had become another person. And the great pains he took to restore his identity seemed to have led to the thicket of problems that came later. The medical treatment that ought to have continued was halted because the company refused to pay, and tens of thousands in unpaid fees meant that he has not been allowed to leave the hospital. But without leaving the hospital he cannot obtain a disability assessment, and without a disability assessment, he cannot file for labor arbitration, so he has no way to seek work-related injury compensation....

Origins
"Renamed" for hospital rescue

Thirty years ago, Li Zhanfeng was born into a family of farmers beside the Qingjiang River in Wuhua County, Meizhou. After graduating from secondary school, he tested into a vocational college in Chongqing where he studied computer science and technology, as was the fashion at the time. Although his performance was not stellar, in the eyes of his family he was a college student who had left the mountains behind.

At the beginning of last year, Li came to Shenzhen in search of work.

"For better or for worse you studied computers in college. Don't you think it's a little insulting to work as a guard in a web cafe?"

"It's not insulting. I got hit by the financial crisis. Do you know how hard it was to find a job?" Li replied. His only thought at the time was to find a job fast so he could support himself and keep his family from worrying.

It so happened that the Bi An Networking Company's Battleground web cafe was recruiting security staff, so Li applied. Information filed with the Bureau of Industry and Commerce reveals that the company was registered as an operator of a chain of web cafes with 10 million RMB in registered capital. On January 9, 2009, Li signed a labor contract with the company and began work.

On April 10, five days before the incident, Li was sent to work at the Zhishang Web Cafe on Baguasan Road.

April 14 started off as a balmy spring night. Suddenly, a girl's shout carried across the Zhishang Web Cafe: "Someone stole my phone!" Li went on the alert. As the male suspect was running toward the duty office, the girl snagged his clothing. Without pausing to think, Li ran up, grabbed the man and began struggling with him. He was unaware that the man had accomplices in the cafe stairwell. Suddenly, knives came thrusting at Li....

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Li Zhanfeng's scars

He can't say how many times he was stabbed, but then he fell to the ground. He was sent to the nearby Third Futian Hospital, but his wounds were so serious that he was rushed over to the Second People's Hospital. He arrived as Li Zhanfeng, but he became Zhao XX — the name of the manager of another web cafe, someone he had never met.

This reporter saw an X-ray registration record for April 14, 2009 at 21:52 that had the name "Li Zhanfeng," but on the surgery record for 23:20 that day, the name had changed to "Zhao XX." A blood transfusion record for the same day shows the connection between the two names: the name "Li Zhanfeng" on the form has been crossed out and replaced with "Zhao XX."

Today, there are two different explanations for the peculiar changes that took place over the course of those several hours. Li Zhanfeng's family told this reporter that a manager by the name of Liu had asked him to change his name, because "Zhao XX had insurance, but Li Zhanfeng didn't yet." However, when this reporter asked Manager Liu for confirmation, he said that the various name changes were due only to the chaos of the moment. Li was new and his colleagues did not recognize him.

Obstinacy
"Change my name back"

Regardless, when Li Zhanfeng gradually awoke to his identity as "Zhao XX," he realized that he ran legal and ethical risks associated with insurance fraud.

Regulations state that employees enrolled in work-related injury insurance enjoy a set of rights, but the program is also an important way for society to share the risk with employers. Work-related insurance regulations stipulate that if employees who are not covered by work-related injury insurance are injured on the job, the work unit must pay fees in accordance with the coverage and standard of the work-related injury insurance program.

At present, there are 8.16 million employees in Shenzhen covered by work-related injury insurance, but this is not total coverage. This reporter learned from people at the hospital that some companies only buy insurance for a portion of their employees, and if uninsured employees are injured, they are treated under the name of an insured employee.

One doctor told the reporter, "Work-related injuries are not like ordinary medical insurance, which is matched against an insurance card and a personal ID. We doctors have no way to verify the patient's identity. Whatever the patient or the patient's company says, goes. So it's fairly common for work-related injury patients to change names back and forth."

"The scars are on my body, but the treatment is being given to someone else. What is going on?" That was the straightforward stubbornness with which Li Zhanfeng asked the company to restore his own name. But many days had passed and the change had not been made. As Li tells it, the company sent high-level leadership to reassure him, implying that he need not worry about the name issue. The captain of the security squad also came, and he put it rather more bluntly: "You're being stupid. The boss changed your name because he has things under control. If you don't cooperate, there will be serious consequences."

Perhaps this fellow from the mountains of eastern Guangdong truly was "stupid." The company even had the notion of giving him the guard captain position after he recovered, but he still insisted on being himself. So serious consequences arrived.

Consequences
Account screened; treatment suspended

As Li Zhanfeng persisted in looking up doctors, the hospital's medical services department, and the patient registry office to change his name back, the company refused to pay his medical bill. Manager Liu, who was in charge of the affair, told this reporter that the company was no longer paying Li's medical bills because Li refused to leave the hospital even though his treatment had finished.

But this reporter learned that one month after entering the hospital, even though Li's external injuries had healed, he could not raise his left arm, and his left hand could not grip anything. The hospital advised Li to enter rehabilitation, but all the beds were occupied and he could not be transferred. After training at the orthopaedics rehab center for a week, Li's account was screened because his bill was unpaid. With no accessible account, his treatment was suspended. So Li's left arm has still not improved.

During a visit to the web cafe, this reporter saw that it was operating normally, but the employees were guarded when asked whether they were all covered by insurance.

The Future
Confusion about fate

A year passed in the blink of an eye. In arrears for more than 300 days, Li Zhanfeng lives on his hospital bed, generating 54 RMB in nursing and bed fees every day. He does not show the impatience he feels in his heart. Caretakers feel confusion and sympathy for the young man wasting his life inside the hospital.

Through last week, Li's outstanding bill amounted to 30,160.89 RMB. "If I had the money, I would get myself discharged. Who wants to stay in the hospital like this?" Li said that he can't leave the hospital to get a disability assessment, and without a disability assessment, he cannot file for labor arbitration, so he has no way to seek work-related injury compensation.

Li can't say whether he feels regretful, aggrieved, or resentful at the way things stand. He only feels puzzled over his fate. His future is like a giant question mark hanging outside the window of his hospital ward.

Asked why he came to Shenzhen at the start of 2009, Li suddenly bent his head and smiled, blushing to his ears. As it turns out, when he was in Zhuhai after graduating from college, he met a girl from the countryside and the two of them fell in love. But their relationship ran into fierce opposition from both of their families.

Why? He looked out the window and said softly, "Feudal superstition. She's from another village, and our village's ancestors swore that they would never marry with anyone from that village." An unexpected answer, to be sure.

On multiple occasions after the incident, the woman said she wanted to visit him, but Li never told her the address. "I don't want her to see me like this."

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There are currently 1 Comments for Injured on the job? Uninsured? Use a coworker's insurance policy!.

Comments on Injured on the job? Uninsured? Use a coworker's insurance policy!

There was a tv show done about a woman who used a girlfriend's health card to get free treatment. Their blood types were different, and the 'borrower' was given a blood transfusion of her friend's blood type and died. From there the movie descended into Hollywood stupidity, but the point should be taken that you could end up being given the wrong blood type for a transfusion, or some other drastic error as a result of borrowing someone else's health card.

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