A Chinese boy lives behind a hard shell of scar tissue after he received terrible burns while playing with a lighter.
Wang Xiaopeng, 6, has been without hair, lips, eyelids, and toes since the accident in November 2010. His injuries also make it difficult for him to see while all of his fingers were amputated from the second joint.
The young boy went up in flames after he accidentally set light to some corn stalks near his home in Yinchuan in China’s Ningxia Province.
His parents rushed him to Ningxia Medical University General Hospital where he managed to pull through. However, he was left severely disfigured and the couple could only afford to pay for three months of treatment for their beloved son.
They spent their life savings and sold their house and land to cover the 150,000 yuan bill – equivalent to around £15,000. They now live on a tiny plot of 0.2 hectares.
His father Wang Yougiu, 32, earns just 2,000 yuan a month as a dairy farmer, while his mother Zhengwei Xiu, 30, is a housewife.
‘We know the younger children have a skin graft and cosmetic surgery the better. But there isn’t the money,’ Mr Wang said.
Young Xiaopeng now lives at home because when his doting parents tried to take him to a nearby school they sent him home after one day due to his appearance.
‘Seeing my son like this is so painful,’ Mr Wang said. He added that his son suffered more in summer when the heat and mosquitoes irritated his sensitive skin.
He has appealed for local benefactors to help them as they need 300,000 yuan (£30,000) to pay for three operations to help him breathe and improve his appearance.
Although a Communist country, China does not have a cradle-to-grave free-at-the-point of use healthcare system.
Instead around half of the population buy basic medical insurance which covers for half the costs of their healthcare. The remainder is paid either by patients or their health insurer.
However, this leaves the poorest in China struggling to meet medical bills for serious condition like Xiaopeng’s.