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First Aid Training in Shanghai

6. Feb 2014

It's not uncommon to hear about Chinese onlookers who watch a fellow citizen fall to the ground but don't stop to lend a helping hand. Besides the worry that a person offering help could be blackmailed, a major reason bystanders are so passive is they have no idea how to administer first aid.

A pilot project teaching first-aid skills in local primary and high schools was launched in late January 2014 which included training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills under the instruction of physicians from the emergency department of Ruijin Hospital. Fifty local primary and high schools will join the project, which will train students, as well as PE teachers and school clinic staff.

First-aid skills are basic skills that many students are taught in developed countries. However, these important, life-saving skills have long been neglected by Chinese educators. During the first half of 2013, five students drowned and four students died suddenly in Shanghai, according to statistics from the Shanghai Youth Protection Office. If these students had received first-aid treatment, some of them may have survived.

Statistics show that the number of deaths from heart attacks in China is roughly 544,000 every year, the highest number in the world. Heart attacks don't just strike the elderly. The proportion of young and middle-aged people who die of heart attacks is growing.

The initial four-minute period after an attack of SCA is called the "golden four minutes." Every minute that defibrillation is postponed, the success rate of CPR drops 7 to 10 percent. Only a quarter of patients can be rescued if CPR is conducted five minutes after SCA. There is very little chance of survival if CPR is conducted more than 10 minutes after SCA.

In the US, nearly 20 million citizens receive first-aid training every year. The success rate of emergency treatment of SCA victims outside a hospital is between 5 and 8 percent in developed countries. In contrast, the success rate is less than 1 percent in China.

Shanghai has developed into one of the most advanced cities in the nation. Local educators should not just focus on their students' academic grades. Basic survival skills are just as important to a student's all-round development and may one day help to save a life.