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Patients transferred to Lanzhou as local hospitals fill

By Xue Chaohua and Ou Hailin (China Daily)

08:16, July 24, 2013

Seriously injured people are taken by helicopter to hospitals in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province, on Tuesday. Feng Yongbin / China Daily

With local hospitals in Gansu's quake-struck areas full to capacity, some of those injured in the shocks are being transferred to Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu province, about 250 kilometers north of the epicenter.

The Tradtional Chinese Medicine Hospital in Minxian county, the area hardest hit by the quake, is now packed with the wounded.

With all wards filled with heavily injured patients, some of the less seriously wounded are staying in corridors, where doctors are conducting emergency treatment.

Even the hospital's garage has become a temporary home for in-patients.

To reduce the pressure, the General Hospital of the Lanzhou Military Command of the People's Liberation Army has received 19 injured people since Monday night, aged between 11 and 75.

Xie Jin, a publicity official at the military hospital, said about 150 beds and three special medical zones have been reserved for incoming patients.

"When they had just arrived, the injured, mostly suffering from fractures and head wounds, were in a panic," said Xie. "But now, after a day of treatment, all are emotionally stable."

One of the patients at the command hospital is Shi Caixia, who had an earth wall of her house in Minxian county collapse upon her. Shi is about seven months pregnant.

"When the quake started jolting, I ran out of the house before it tumbled," said 47-year-old Gao Qiaoe, Shi's mother-in-law. "But Shi was trapped. So I went back and dug her out."

Shi was rushed to Lanzhou by helicopter and she and her baby have been declared safe, except for a fracture on Shi's leg, said a doctor who only gave his surname of Wang.

The University Hospital of Gansu Traditional Chinese Medicine expects to receive five patients with severe injuries who are being transferred from Minxian Chinese Medicine Hospital.

Another six patients from the earthquake area who suffered fractures were admitted to Lanzhou University Second Hospital.

"All of the six patients were injured by buildings falling but their injuries vary," said Zhang Haiming, chief physician of the traumatic orthopedics department. Zhang said the injuries are not life-threatening.

All the patients need surgery, Zhang said, the first of which the hospital expects to conduct as early as Thursday. "We are expecting another two injured patients transferred to our hospital late today."

Li Shengping, a mason from Shizui, is one of those receiving treatment in Lanzhou. Li, who was transferred to the orthopedics emergencies department at 4 pm, has open and comminuted fractures of the tibia and fibula in his left leg.

Yang Xiaofang, a nurse at Gansu Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is caring for Li and his family.

"Li was working on a three-meter frame. He fell down and fractured his left leg when the earthquake happened," Yang said. "When Li was brought to our hospital at 2 am today, he was suffering from swelling and pain in his left leg."

Li will need to stay in bed for at least three months before he will be able to walk on his own again.

"I was awake all night yesterday because both Li and his wife were emotionally unstable," Yang said. "Li has always been the breadwinner of their family. Li's severe injury changed everything."

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