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CQU Doctor Saves Patient Within the “Golden 4 Minutes” on Plane

"Illness can attack anytime, but we cannot always count on angels for first aid." Fortunately, on the afternoon of December 1, 2019, Air China CA1430 flight from Chongqing to Beijing, a patient suddenly attached by illness was saved by a doctor within the "golden four minutes". Xiaoli (pseudonym), a passenger who witnessed the whole process, said that the rescuing doctor was an angel. On December 2, Zhang Yan, a neurophysician at the Central Hospital of Chongqing University (Chongqing Emergency Medical Center) was interviewed by a journalist of CQNEWS, and told the journalist about the entire process of rescue.

(Critical rescue is being performed by a doctor on the same plane after a passenger is suddenly attached by illness.)

"It happened half an hour after the plane took off, when I was reading a medical monograph. Suddenly I heard the flight crew calling for medical workers, saying that there was a passenger attacked by sudden disease on the plane."

Zhang Yan said that she was sitting in 38th row of economy class and heard the help information from the crew. Then she immediately went to the patient. "At that time, the passenger was vomiting in the toilet. I knocked on the door and asked how he was. The answer was ‘headache’."

Zhang Yan remembered that the sick passenger still did not come out of the toilet in about one minute,. She immediately asked two flight attendants to help the passenger out of the toilet, and others to prepare first-aid supplies such as oxygen bags and adrenaline.

"When the passenger got out of the toilet, he was unable to stand on his own. The passenger leaned against the special seat of the steward, head down, looking pale and very painful, and did not respond well. I immediately realized that he might have disorders of consciousness."

After eliminating the possibility of dizziness caused by hypoglycemia, Zhang Yan, together with Mi Zhizhi, a staff member of Chongqing Red Cross Society, checked the passenger and found that the passenger had mydriasis with his left pupil and his right pupil began to dilate. After taking his blood pressure and pulse, they found that the patient's life was in danger.

Just as Zhang Yan was preparing for the next rescue step, the condition of the patient suddenly worsened." He had dyspnea, and with his body temperature dropping to 35.7 degrees, completely lost his consciousness. I spoke loudly with him and he didn’t respond at all."

Later, Zhang Yan immediately asked the flight attendants to perform CPR for the patient. Mi Zhizhi also picked up the syringe and prepared the epinephrine for intravenous injection at any time.

After one cycle of CPRt, the patient did not recover his consciousness still. During the second cycle of CPR, the passenger had a response.

"After two presses in the second cycle, the patient's right hand lifted slightly. After our examination, we found that the pulse of the patient recovered, though he still had mydriasis, which indicated success of the initial rescue. So we kept comforting the patient and asking him to relax and not to be nervous. We told him that we are going to send him to the hospital immediately. "

The patient's life was still in danger if the illness attacks again. Knowing this, the captain of the flight immediately contacted the ground and asked for alternative landing. Finally, at 14:35 on December 1, the plane made an emergency alternative landing in Xi’an. Xi’an emergency centre immediately took the passenger to the nearest hospital for treatment.  Till then it was only 35 minutes after the steward found the emergency.

Zhang Yan and Mi Zhihui were relieved to see the passenger turned better. They walked back to their seats together after the rescue. Passengers who witnessed the critical rescue all applauded for their heroic act. Doctor Zhang said that it’s what a doctor should do to master first aid knowledge.

Xiaoli, a passenger on the plane, held Zhang Yan’s hand and praised for her professionalism. Then Xiaoli recorded the event and posted it online in her Wechat Moments. She wrote: There was a critically ill patient on the plane, and the crew asked for emergency assistance. Dr. Zhang from Chongqing Emergency Medical Center and Dr. Mi from Chongqing Red Cross Society showed up like angels at this critical moment. I have been fortunate enough to witness the professionalism of the doctors and their attitude towards life. The patient with sudden illness is undoubtedly lucky…

Afterwards, when the journalist asked if she was nervous at that time, Zhang Yan said with a smile, "I was actually not nervous, because I worked for Chongqing Emergency Medical Center, and all doctors there are required to master the common knowledge of first aid. Every year we receive regular first aid training, and take part in examinations. It’s the duty of doctors."

It is interesting that, just before the rescue, Zhang Yan was reviewing the Latest Atlas of American CPR and First Aid Guide, so the rescue became part of her review before the exam. "I organised the rescue team, assigned responsibilities to each of the members, and everyone performed their duties and rescued the passenger in an orderly manner. I’m really glad to be able to help the passengers. Hearing the applause from the passengers, I really felt that my ordinary job is extraordinarily significant!"