China / Rescue efforts

Medics had no time to lose after blast

By Tang Yue in Tianjin (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-20 07:42

Living about 700 meters from the center of the Tianjin blast, Jiang Lingyu was injured by broken glass and passed out on Aug 12 at midnight.

But the second she was awakened by her husband, the 53-year-old asked whether her 10-month-old grandson was hurt.

While her son, who lived two floors below, was rushing downstairs with the baby, Jiang's husband, daughter-in-law and a neighbor carried her from the 29th floor to the ground. It was fortunate that her family was not severely injured.

Jiang was taken to TEDA Hospital by ambulance about half an hour after the explosion and has been hospitalized since. Doctor Li Qing said her eyes and hands were injured, but the chance of permanent scarring is very slim.

"I'm thrilled to learn that my grandson is fine," Jiang said from her sickbed, smiling as she mentioned the baby.

"I've asked my son to take him back to our hometown in Shanxi province for the time being. I asked them not to worry about me because the doctor and nurses are taking very good care of me," said the migrant cleaner, who, with her husband, shared an 100-square-meter apartment with another six households before the accident.

TEDA Hospital, located about 2 kilometers from the Tianjin blast site, also had 140 windows broken by the explosion.

But the doctors and nurses had no time to panic. Ten minutes after the first explosion, TEDA Hospital received its first wounded. Another 10 minutes later, the first operation began.

"We spent about six or seven minutes to make sure all the hospitalized patients were OK and then gathered at the emergency department for the expected injured," said Lu Yun, head of the hospital.

Lu said the government will cover all of the costs of hospitals' treatment for the injured.

"The injuries are more complicated than those in an earthquake. I have seen many patients suffer from burns, fractures, and visceral injuries at the same time," said Ren Xinsheng, an expert dealing with severe cases at the hospital.

"Most of the more than 80 injured who are hospitalized at TEDA Hospital are in a stable condition, but infection remains a serious concern."

Wang Ning, an expert on neurosurgery sent by the National Health and Family Planning Commission to Tianjin, said all of the hospitalized patients were having their ears and eyes checked as problems such as eardrum perforation are common in such incidents.

"Having experienced such a disaster, some patients suffer from psychological problems as a result. We have arranged for psychologists from Tianjin and experts from Beijing to take care of them," Lu said.

About 60 psychologists are monitoring all the hospitalized patients, 21 of whom are under serious psychological stress, said Cao Xiaohong, vice-mayor of Tianjin, who is in charge of health work.

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