Heart-stopping moments on a high-speed train

Xu Lingchao
The conductor of a high-speed train performed CPR on a woman for 26 minutes before the ambulance arrived.
Xu Lingchao

Twenty-six minutes can seem like an eternity when you are waiting for your meal to arrive, or like no time at all when you're eating it, but that's the time hero Gu Rong spent keeping a heart beating.

Gu, the conductor of high-speed train G1329, performed CPR on a woman who had a heart attack for 26 minutes before the ambulance arrived, buying precious time for the patient who is now fully recovered.

On July 4, as the train from Shanghai approached its destination Guiyang North Railway Station, Gu received a cry for help on her intercom.

“A woman in carriage 3 is feeling very sick, can you please come as soon as possible?” a crew member said.

When Gu arrived at the carriage, she saw a woman clutching her chest and gasping painfully.

“She could hardly talk,” Gu recalled. “She only managed to squeeze some words out about her medical history.”

The passenger, Zhao, had had heart surgery, and Gu quickly found her pills in her backpack and gave one to her.

When the train arrived at Guiyang, Gu called an ambulance. But just when she thought the passenger was stabilized, Zhao lost consciousness.

“At the moment I couldn’t feel her breath,” Gu said. “So, we laid her down on the floor, and immediately started CPR.”

After about two minutes, Zhao began to breathe again.

Zhao opened her eyes, but just as Gu felt a bit relieved, she fainted again.

Gu kept up the CPR until the ambulance arrived, by which time Zhao was able to breathe again.

Later when Gu watched the video recorded by her service recorder, she found she had been on her knees for 26 minutes straight.

“At the time I didn’t realize how much time I spent,” said Gu. “All I thought about was not to lose her.”

Gu has been working on trains for 18 years. She has encountered passenger who vomited, felt dizzy, or even had a miscarriage, but it was the first time she had to perform CPR to help.

Zhao was taken to hospital in Guiyang that night. She recovered and left on the next day. Zhao’s daughter sent her gratitude to Gu on WeChat.

“As a train conductor, I was trained to face different emergency situations, including how to perform CPR,” Gu said. “I’m simply glad that I did what I was taught and Zhao is alright now.”

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