Shenzhen woman's sudden death on commute triggers debate on emergency aid training

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 February, 2014, 12:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 February, 2014, 5:18pm

Could better training on emergency first-aid for the public have saved the life of a young woman who suddenly collapsed on her way to work?

A debate broke out on China’s social media this week after a 35-year-old professional, Liang Ya, collapsed at a subway exit earlier this month in Shenzhen. She was pronounced dead 50 minutes later when an ambulance finally arrived, China’s Southern Metropolis Daily reported

It is not yet clear wha caused Liang’s death.

Security footage showed that Liang had tried to reach out for help in the first few minutes after she collapsed. Yet after a fellow subway passenger found her and notified staff, who then called the police, nobody performed any emergency first-aid procedures.

Instead Liang had lain on the very stairs where she had collapsed during the 50- minute wait, while subway workers stood by. The staff, who apparently had received no medical training, said they “didn’t dare touch” her, according to reports.

The absence of any emergency aid attempt angered Ye’s 80-year-old father, who after watched the security footage, shouted in tears, “Why did you not save my child?” the Daily reported.

It also saddened the family that no one had covered her with clothing while she lied motionless at the windy exit.

The same questions were also raised on Sina Weibo, where microbloggers expressed sympathy for Liang on Tuesday.

“It’s unbelievable that subway workers are not trained to deal with emergencies like this,” a microblogger wrote.

“She could have been saved if someone had tried to resuscitate her right after she fell down,” another one wrote.

Yet many others disagreed and said they wouldn’t risk performing emergency aid on Liang without receiving professional training first.

A doctor at Shenzhen Emergency Aid Centre told the South China Morning Post on Thursday that patients’ chances of survival are usually much higher if professional first-aid is performed in time.

The centre has seen a rise in applicants in recent years, she added. A one-day training programme costs 160 yuan (HK$203) at the centre.