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Plea: Meng Caixiu suffers from a terribly distended stomach linked to a liver cyst
A 12-year-old girl with a rare disease has a stomach so swollen she looks like she is on the verge of giving birth.
Meng Caixiu from Guizhou Province in southwest China was diagnosed with a liver cyst - a fluid-filled sac that develops along the organ - when she was only one year old.
Although her parents have spent all their savings and even borrowed money to take her to many doctors, medics have not been able to stop her belly from swelling.
Meng looks heavily pregnant as a result of her condition
She has clear scarring on her stomach suggesting one operation has already failed to cure her.
The girl's father Meng Guofan said: 'Her belly is getting bigger and bigger and her condition is getting worse. She looks so pitiable.
'Now the family is so impoverished that we can't afford the medical fees for her any longer. She is such a poor child.'
Her struggling family are now calling for a benefactor to help fund treatment as quickly as possible.
Although a Communist country, China does not have a cradle to grave free at the point of use healthcare system.
Meng has the tell-tale marks of an operation, which has failed to stop her stomach from swelling
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 conditions like Meng Caixiu's.
When liver cysts grow larger than around seven centimetres they can cause the stomach to swell and become distended.
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