Teen set on fire in attack to get free care and plastic surgery

Teen set on fire in attack to get free care and plastic surgery

Zhou Yan, the 17-year-old who suffered horrific burns on her face and body when she was splashed with lighter fluid and set on fire in Hefei, Anhui province, was transferred to a plastic surgery hospital in Beijing for free treatment on Monday night.

A reality TV show in Jiangsu province had invited the girl and her family to Nanjing, Jiangsu province, and contacted the Evercare Beijing Aikang Hospital to get treatment for her. The hospital agreed and will treat her at no cost.

"Medical conditions in Zhou Yan's hometown were not as good," said the girl's lawyer, Li Zhixian.

Li said Zhou had been staying at home since the end of last year because the parents of Tao Rukun, her former classmate whom police suspect of setting Zhou on fire in September after she spurned his advances, refused to pay medical bills.

Zhou's family could not afford the expense.

"We (Zhou Yan's family and Li) chose a list of hospitals in Hefei, Shanghai and Beijing and narrowed them down to this one, based on their facilities and service. Zhou's mother made personal visits to these hospitals," Li said.

"She's still in unavoidable pain. Every time her burnt skin was touched, she would cry," said Zhou Feng, the girl's father, who is the sole wage-earner in the family.

"I sneaked out from work for a few days to keep my daughter company in Beijing," he said.

Zhou is expected to need lengthy treatment including multiple skin grafts.

"Zhou Yan's first step is to do functional restoration surgery on her neck and hands, and it could take years," said Li.

Zhou Feng said it "might (take) two to three years, or even more".

The public has donated 831,870 yuan to Zhou since news of the attack on the girl was released in February.

Li advised Zhou's family to keep the money, because "complications might arise in the future".

The donations are in the bank now, Li said.

Hefei police conducted tests on Zhou. They announced on Thursday that forensic medical staff analyzed the injuries on Zhou Yan's face and ears, and evaluated them as severe. The injuries on her neck and hands have not yet been evaluated, they said.

The police have turned the case over to prosecutors.

Tao has been detained since September.

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