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When good intentions are too close to call

By Raymond Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-05 07:40

But I still cannot figure out whether the donations from readers of the post would go to the firm or to Luo. Anyway, a total of more than 2 million yuan was raised before Luo told people to stop sending money.

Now the part I would like to dwell on: the amount needed. The hospital has revealed that the total cost so far for the treatment of his daughter is around 100,000 yuan and insurance has covered most of it, with Luo paying some 20,000 yuan out of his own pocket. This was later confirmed by Luo himself.

This is an amount most Chinese families can afford-even without putting up any asset for sale.

In the past year I have learned firsthand that money is often not the make-or-break factor in treating a cancer patient. Most people have the notion that the more money we can spend, the more likely our loved ones can be saved. But in most cases that I know, this is not true.

Sure, some treatments are costly and not covered by insurance. But the cruel truth is, the miracle cure is simply not there yet for whatever amount of money. The rate of cancer survival depends on early diagnosis.

I got Opdivo, a very expensive drug, for my brother two days before he passed away. The doctor told us that it works well for most patients with skin cancer. For others, the likelihood of a cure is very limited. Now, my sister-in-law wants to donate the remaining medicine to someone who cannot afford it.

But the change of hand must be authorized and explained by a doctor, I insist, because I fear the recipient may be misled by the high value of the drug into thinking it is a panacea.

I honestly believe that China's medical system covers most who need help and the few who fall through the cracks can be helped by philanthropy, including online donations in small amounts.

Judging from all the reports, I have a feeling that Luo did not set out to dupe anyone.

When his daughter was taken into an intensive care unit, it was natural for him as a father to feel sudden despair. He exaggerated the amount needed probably because he was trying to cover future medical costs. Also, as he said, he never expected his article to go viral. Most such pleas never go out of one's circle of acquaintances.

There is a streak in the Chinese mentality that favors exaggeration and simplification. Luo may be an example of it, but those who accuse him of various "sins" and "crimes" seem more culpable. They rely on hearsay instead of conducting investigations. The road to the moral high ground is always crowded with people who think in either-or terms.

I salute those who uncover fabrications of "good deeds".