Pudong to get hundreds of new AEDs in public areas

The Pudong New Area will have 800 new automated external defibrillators installed in public areas by the end of this year, the local branch of the Red Cross Society said yesterday. 

The Pudong New Area will have 800 new automated external defibrillators installed in public areas such as shopping malls, schools and residential communities by the end of this year, the local branch of the Red Cross Society told Shanghai Daily yesterday. 

So far, 597 such devices have been installed in the area, and the society says it will train about 2,000 volunteers on how to use these portable lifesaving machines.

Over recent years, a growing number of AEDs have been installed around Shanghai. But their distribution is uneven and many public spaces still lack them.

When a man collapsed in Xujiahui Metro station on Monday morning, two good Samaritans with professional medical training performed CPR on him for 10 minutes before an ambulance came with a defibrillator. 

The man was pronounced dead later in the afternoon, and doctors said he was not breathing when he arrived at the hospital.

Xujiahui station has no AED. Only 39 such devices are spread throughout Shanghai’s 395 Metro stations, and 23 of these machines are in stations in Pudong.

Over 10 million people commute on the city’s Metro system every day. In most cases when passengers complain to staff about feeling unwell, they are treated with first-aid kits. When serious emergencies occur though, the operator’s hands are often tied.

“The best our staff can do in the worst situations is to call an ambulance as soon as possible, and broadcast calls for medical professionals in the station,” said Feng Hao from Shentong Metro Groups.

“Most of our staff members are not professionals in first aid, though a number of them have trained,” said Feng. “They can’t make accurate judgement on passengers’ physical condition, and imprudent attempts at aid can lead to fatal results.” 

Experts say that AEDs can raise the chances of surviving a severe cardiac event.

“Our research shows that performing CPR, in combination with using an AED, raises the survival rate of cardiac arrest to more than 50 percent,” explained Lu Zongwei from the society.

According to the city’s red cross, four people were saved by public AEDs last year.

Lu told Shanghai Daily that the AEDs previously installed around Shanghai by the Red Cross require no professional medical knowledge to operate.

“Once activated, the AED has a voice guide to lead the operator,” said Lu. “Once attached to the patient, electrode pads will automatically diagnose whether the patient needs defibrillation or not.”

Public awareness is another issue, as several Metro passengers randomly interviewed by Shanghai Daily yesterday had no idea what an AED was or where to possibly locate one.

“I’m not sure if it will help,” said Zhang Qian, a white-collar worker. “When emergencies happen in such crowded places, it’s hard to believe someone with no professional skills can handle it very well.”

A foreigner who identified himself as Steven was surprised to see a defibrillator in a Metro station. “I didn’t know the station was equipped with it,” he said. “It would help a lot in emergencies for sure.”

There are more than 1,000 AEDs installed in public areas across Shanghai. 

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