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Paralyzed girl, 8, sues
( 2003-09-17 17:27) (eastday.com)

The family of an 8-year-old girl has filed a lawsuit against the Huangpu Youth Activity Center after the girl was left paralyzed by a dance-class injury.

Zhu min and her family are requesting 1.49 million yuan (US$179,150) in compensation to cover medical expenses, diminished earning capacity and mental anguish.

The huangpu District People's Court heard opening arguments in the case last week and has scheduled another hearing after a forensic appraisal of the girl's injuries is completed.

"The appraisal is the key evidence in the case, as the court should confirm whether the accident was the cause of Zhu's paralysis," said Gu Jianguo, a court spokesman. "We should make it clear that Zhu was healthy before."

Zhu hurt herself trying to do a headstand during a dance class at the center on July 24, 2002.

"I fell down and told my teacher that my waist hurt. She told me to do it again. After the second try, I fell again and my waist was twisted," said Zhu.

When her father arrived on the scene, Zhu was quickly sent to hospital. Doctors found she had suffered nerve damage to her spine that they say lead to her paralysis.

"It was a complete shock to the family. Both my wife and I had to quit our jobs to take care of our daughter," said the girl's father, Zhu Wenqing.

"The center must be scolded for not taking necessary protective measures when students were under training. The teacher asked my daughter to do a headstand again, regardless of her complaint," he added.

The youth center, however, says it is innocent and called the family's suit unfair. Center officials say that doing headstands is a normal part of dance training and Zhu's injuries were caused by a freak accident.

The center said it has already paid about 130,000 yuan to cover the girl's medical expenses.

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