The story appears on

Page A4

February 17, 2012

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro

Amid slow ambulance, reluctance to help, man dies after street fall

A 70-year-old man fell down at a downtown intersection near a hospital, whispering for help and struggling to get up, but died in front of a crowd of onlookers as the ambulance failed to arrive until about 30 minutes after it was summoned, residents said.

The incident occurred at Henan Road N. and Wujin Road in Hongkou District about 3:15pm on Wednesday, when the man who had just bought orange juice from a nearby supermarket fainted, witnesses said.

Police immediately arrived but despite the fact the nearest hospital was only a 15-minute walk away, no ambulance arrived until 4:16pm, and the man has already died, witnesses said.

A female resident surnamed Jin told Shanghai Daily that the old man whispered for help while on the ground, but no one among a crowd of passers-by helped him up. About 10 minutes later, she saw the man's mouth keep moving, with his eyes wide open, but she heard no sound.

"The fact is that no one dare touch him for fear that his condition may deteriorate with unprofessional help," said Jin. "But many called the ambulance after the policeman did."

Officials at the Shanghai Medical Emergency Center told the Shanghai Evening Post that they were advised of the incident at 3:19pm but when asking whether an ambulance was needed, the resident who reported the case said no because the police had already come.

The center officials told the newspaper that it was not until 3:47pm that the policeman called for an ambulance, but the center found none available and they had to spend another 13 minutes to find one.

It was 4:16pm when an ambulance arrived. The man had already died. The whole procedure cost nearly half an hour since they received the second call from police, the center told the newspaper.

The man was not identified, and his cause of death was under investigation.

Some residents living in the area complained about the delay, but some also wondered aloud why no one lifted the old man up and sent him immediately to the nearest hospital.

Some elderly residents said they recalled advice from health authorities that they should call 120 and wait for professional help when facing such emergencies.

"I guess no one among the crowd had the medical skills to carry out first-aid treatment to save him," said a resident surnamed Wang. "Everyone was waiting eagerly for doctors."

Their concerns come after China's Ministry of Health published a guide last September telling people how to help elderly residents if they fall in the street.

The 41-page guide, available to download from the ministry's website, advises people who see old people fall "not to help them up in a hurry, but to observe and inquire about their health conditions first and then act accordingly."

The guide says that in many cases people's help could lead to more serious problems for elderly people suffering bone fractures, strokes or heart disease. It advises dialing 120 for medical help if people see someone on the ground unconscious.

It surfaced after a series of cases across the country where people trying to help were instead wrongly accused of causing accidents. Some old people even tried to sue people who rushed to their aid.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Medical Emergency Center said emergency medical service has entered its peak season along with the drop of temperature in winter and spring. There has been a rise in the number of patients with cerebral and cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, elderly diseases and accidents, imposing strong pressure on local ambulance services.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend