• Tue. Nov 22nd, 2022

The story of a military medical team’s dedication to Xizang

ByMadeleine J. Pierce

Oct 1, 2022

By Yang Zijiang, Wang Weidong

In May 2022, the minimum temperature in Amdo County, Xizang Autonomous Region was still below zero, when a coach was driving in the dark, with a cold wind blowing through window gaps and the oxygen content outside less than 50% of that of the plain.

The 9 people on board were the members of the 20th medical team sent by the General Hospital of the PLA Eastern Theater Command to provide medical assistance to Xizang. The destination of the 9 team members, respectively from the departments of general surgery, or therapy, obstetrics and gynecology, ENT and clinical laboratory, was Amdo County, where they would begin a mission of six months medical assistance.

Amdo County, subordinate to Nagqu City, Xizang Autonomous Region, is located at the southern foot of the Tanggula Mountains. With an average altitude of more than 4,700 meters, the capital of Amdo is one of the highest capitals in the world. Amdo features a harsh and unstable climate, as evidenced by strong winds and almost harsh winter snowfall throughout the year.

At Amdo County People’s Hospital, medical team members carried out disease diagnosis, surgical treatment, special disease screening and rescue, and outreach and education in the health sciences, while overcoming obstacles such as hypoxia and language barriers.

In late September, a pregnant Tibetan woman suffered from obstructed labor while giving birth to her baby at Amdo County Hospital. Head nurse Wu Dongyun and head nurse Zheng Cuixia, both members of the medical team, arrived in time, and with their professional abdominal pressure, the baby was born. However, due to the long labor process, the newborn suffered from suffocation and cyanosis. Although medical personnel immediately rescued the baby, the situation did not arise. Desperately, Nurse Wu performed artificial respiration on the little boy to clear his airways. A few minutes later, the baby let out a cry and cheers filled the delivery room.

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in Xizang, Xu Min, a head nurse, who had participated in epidemic prevention and control at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan in 2020, joined the group of local COVID-19 control work to make more than 10 inspection visits to 50 key points along Tanggula National Highway, where Xu conducted on-site training on epidemic prevention and control, provided educational guidance to personnel working on the front line of epidemic control on the correct use of protective clothing, standardized nucleic acid sampling, disinfection of key positions and specifications on safe interpersonal communication distances.

Since 2001, the PLA Eastern Theater Command General Hospital has provided comprehensive support to hospitals in Amdo County in the areas of medical personnel management, technologies, training and equipment, promoting the global level of the level of medical technology of hospitals and for the benefit of local populations.