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The nation"s first manual for in-flight first-aid was published on Wednesday by China Eastern Airlines, which hopes to set the standard for handling medical emergencies in the air.
The manual, compiled by the airline, civil aviation experts and the Shanghai Volunteer Physician League, covers basic knowledge of common illnesses, notes for passengers with special conditions, case studies and instruction in basic first-aid skills.
"With the development of civil aviation in China in recent years, we"ve seen a rapid growth in passengers. The number of emergency incidents is also on the rise," said Li Songlin, head of Civil Aviation General Hospital.
It is necessary, Li said, for airline employees and passengers to enhance their knowledge to be prepared to face in-flight medical emergencies and to increase the effectiveness of first-aid.
"Being able to conduct effective first-aid on the spot is key for air safety, and can be a matter of life and death. I"m glad that after a year of work we accomplished something nobody"s done before in China," said Su Jiacan, president of the league and part of the manual writing team.
Over the past five years, the number of civil aircraft in China increased from 1,922 to 3,177, and time in the air surged from 6.19 million hours to 10.5 million hours.
In-flight first-aid is needed for about 23 passengers per million globally. The passenger death rate is between 0.1 and 0.8 person per million.
"In the past two years, China Eastern witnessed 136 in-flight emergencies, and made 37 flight diversions or returned for the life or health of passengers," said Liu Hao, deputy general manager of China Eastern"s client council.
The manual - In-Flight First-Aid Handbook - was published a year after China Eastern launched an initiative to put medical experts in the air. It added 411 doctor volunteers from the expert pool of the Shanghai Volunteer Physician League in the past year.
The in-flight medical expert project enables China Eastern to get in touch with experts quickly if a passenger has a health problem, and to carry out lifesaving first-aid.
In addition, China Eastern"s in-flight Wi-Fi facilities make real-time communication with doctors on the ground possible, so first-aid can be conducted under the guidance of experts.
"The handbook has English translations of medical terminology related to different illness, which makes it possible to communicate with foreign passengers who need firstaid," Su said.