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December 13, 2019

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Air travelers stable after medical woes

Five passengers, including four expats, were rushed to Pudong New Area People’s Hospital in a critical condition from the Pudong airport over a period of 10 days, the hospital said yesterday. All are now in stable condition.

On December 2, a 28-year-old Frenchwoman fainted on an aircraft. She was diagnosed with an acute pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lungs.

A 36-year-old passenger from the United States who fainted at the airport on December 5 and a 55-year-old US passenger found unconscious when a flight landed the next day had the same problem.

“Acute pulmonary embolisms can be life-threatening, but awareness of the problem is lacking,” said Wan Jian, director of the hospital’s intensive care unit department.

Wan said the condition could be blamed on long-term lack of movement in a cramped space on a jet.

People with diabetes, heart problems or who are at risk of a stroke are very vulnerable, he said.

The hospital has about 30 such cases a year.

In the other two cases, a 25-year-old student from Nigeria developed symptoms of a fever and was sick with abdominal pain on an aircraft, and his situation worsened after landing. He was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and diabetic ketoacidosis at the hospital.

And a 24-year-old Chinese student lost consciousness when boarding after he had run to catch his flight as he’d gone to the wrong terminal. He was diagnosed as having a cerebral infarction.

The hospital has established a coordination system with medical emergency staff at the airport.


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