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China to improve air ambulance service for critical patients

Updated: Apr 3,2019 4:01 PM     Xinhua

URUMQI — China has set up pilot areas to provide air transport for critical patients and the severely wounded in places lacking medical resources, authorities said.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China and the National Health Commission have forged an action plan to transfer patients via flights. The “air ambulance service” with continuous first aid aims to enhance the survival rate.

“The action plan ushers in a professional stage for China’s aeromedical service,” said Ma Yan, head of the emergency center at the Urumqi Diwopu International Airport in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Last week, a 62-year-old patient with severe pneumonia complicated by high-risk hypertension and diabetes was transported for medical treatment by a jet ambulance from Urumqi to Beijing, more than 2,500 km away.

The aircraft, a Falcon 2000LX, is the country’s first civil aircraft for professional medical relief which is fully equipped with portable ventilators, ECG monitors and automatic stretchers. It can land on highlands and short runways, and in hot areas.

Patients in critical conditions used to be transported by passenger flights, with 216 patients in Xinjiang transported by the civil aviation service in 2018, Ma said. However, it posed threats to the safety of patients and airplanes, as first-aid equipment was secured in the cabin with ropes, he added.

The country’s air ambulance service includes 71 hospitals and pre-hospital medical institutions in 12 provinces and municipalities.

Local civil aviation and health departments are required to strengthen coordination and build a more established aeromedical service network.