China's first in-flight first aid guide released

China's first in-flight first aid handbook was released in Shanghai on Wednesday to guide flight attendants and passengers in dealing with mid-air emergencies.
Ti Gong

A flight attendant displays the nation's first in-flight first aid handbook, jointly issued by China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Volunteer Physicians League.

China's first in-flight first aid handbook was released in Shanghai on Wednesday to guide flight attendants and passengers in dealing with mid-air emergencies.

The handbook, jointly issued by China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Volunteer Physicians League — with the input of some 50 senior doctors from local hospitals — lists 38 common medical emergencies.

Complete with lucid illustrations by famous medical illustrator Chen Haiyan, a cardiac doctor of Zhongshan Hospital, the book explains the symptoms and causes of various conditions, along with first-aid procedures to deal with them. 

The English expressions of each condition and its symptoms have been marked in the book for Chinese flight attendants to better communicate with foreign passengers.

"The practical handbook can help passengers suffering from acute diseases in the air to receive more timely and proper help from crew," said Su Jiacan, president of the league and an orthopedist with Changhai Hospital.

More than 20 in-flight medical cases will happen on every million flights worldwide, including some deadly cases, according to statistics from the international civil aviation organization. 

China Eastern alone experienced 138 such cases in the last two years. Its flights were diverted to land 37 times due to medical emergencies, the airline said. The carrier, along with doctors and experts, spent a year analyzing those emergency cases to publish the book.

In a case just last month, China Eastern flight MU587 from Shanghai to New York released over 30 tons of fuel and made an emergency landing at Anchorage airport in Alaska after a 60-year-old female passenger suffered breathing difficulties.

The airline has also launched an in-flight medical expert scheme to establish a database of doctors among its passengers in case of emergency. Over 400 doctors have voluntarily joined the scheme and assisted crew members in nine medical cases.

Using its in-flight WiFi service, flight attendants from the airline have also been able to communicate real-time with doctors on the ground, the airline said.


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