COVID-hit Lanzhou in NW China vows to tackle rigid work style after death of 3-year-old
Published: Nov 03, 2022 06:29 PM
Citizens queue up at midnight at a nucleic acid testing site in Chengguan District of Lanzhou City, northwest China's Gansu Province, Oct. 21, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

Citizens line up at midnight at a nucleic acid testing site in Chengguan District of Lanzhou City, northwest China's Gansu Province, Oct. 21, 2021. File photo:Xinhua

Authorities of Lanzhou, capital city of Northwest China's Gansu Province on Thursday published another briefing to respond to public inquiries after a three-year-old child died of carbon monoxide poisoning on Tuesday, prompting online controversies as netizens suspected the tragedy might have been avoided if it were not for local epidemic control workers' delayed response and rigid work style. 

As public have been raising questions over whether assistance was delayed because relevant personnel adhered to the COVID-19 control measures without flexibility, the Thursday briefing sorted out the timeline of the incident. 

Local police on Tuesday night published a briefing about how they received a call for help at 1:43 pm saying two people had passed out including a child who had stopped breathing. The police sent officers to the scene and helped the people to send the two to hospital at 1:57 pm. 

Yet the police notice did not explain the complete course of the incident and people demanded details about how the medical emergency hotline 120 responded to the father's call for help. 

According to the Thursday briefing, the father made his first phone call to medical emergency hot line 120 at 12:18 pm Tuesday reporting that his wife was fainted at home. Since their residence is in an area under COVID control restrictions, the case was transferred to a special team. Medical staff tried to contact the father and reached him at 1:07 pm by phone, instructing emergency treatment and started to assign ambulance at 1:19 pm. 

The 120 center received another call at 1:23 pm saying an adult and a child need first-aid, which was verified to be the same case reported at 12:18 pm. The center received two other phone calls and ordered a local hospital to dispatch an ambulance at 1:44 pm. 

At the community level, workers advised the father to call 120 and the police. At 1:55 pm, the father, with the help of a police officer, sent the child to hospital via a taxi. They arrived at the hospital at 2:05 pm, and the child was announced dead at 3 pm after CPR failed to save his life. 

The fainted mother was sent to hospital at 2:21 pm via the assigned ambulance and has been discharged from the hospital after treatment. 

The tragedy was brought online by the child's father and immediately sparked wide controversies on multiple social media platforms. 

In the Thursday briefing, city authorities vowed to seriously handle the problems exposed in the incident, including unsmooth first-aid mechanism, poor capabilities of emergency response and bureaucratic and officials with rigid work style. 

"We will learn the bitter lesson, put people and life at the center, improve work style and governance capabilities to avoid similar incidents from happening again. We also fully accept critics from the public and will firmly rectify the problems," read the Thursday briefing. 

Zhu Tianshu, Party chief of Lanzhou, visited residential communities, universities and hospitals on Tuesday to coordinate epidemic-prevention work and address difficulties and problems. 

Zhu said local authorities should not delay solving people's problems and should do their best to meet the basic needs of the people in the prevention and control of the epidemic in different areas.  

"We should be more responsive to the concerns of all parties, open channels for the people to express their demands, and listen carefully to their opinions and suggestions," Zhu said.

Global Times