Weekly First-aid Topic: Pay special attention to eating of the elderly to avoid airway obstruction
From:Beijing Municipal Health Commission

On the evening of January 16, 2024, a 73-year-old man choked while eating wontons, causing airway obstruction and he was in critical condition. His family called the emergency hotline and described the situation at the scene. The dispatcher Zhang Yingchun of the 120 dispatch and command center answered the call immediately. At the critical moment, she immediately recognized the disease condition and dispatched the nearest ambulance. She reassured the family members: "I have sent an emergency doctor. Please don't hang up the phone." Then she gave the family members instructions for Heimlich first-aid measures over the phone. During the call, the patient's condition turned worse rapidly. He lost consciousness and was no longer breathing. Zhang Yingchun remained calm and immediately directed cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene. The caller also cooperated with the dispatcher's guidance actively and continued chest compressions to won the patient time for rescue. Soon, the 120 ambulance arrived at the scene, and the emergency doctor immediately took over the cardiopulmonary resuscitation and started a series of rescue measures. With continuous rescue, the patient's heartbeat had resumed when he arrived at the hospital.

Here are some tips from Beijing 120. The elderly need to pay special attention to eating and chew slowly to avoid choking or foreign body obstruction in the airway. Airway obstruction is a blockage of the respiratory tract caused by various reasons, which in turn blocks or stagnates the flow of gas, causing hypoxia to the body and even causing death by suffocation. Patients with airway obstruction may experience difficult breathing, coughing, cyanosis, or even loss of consciousness. It is a serious condition that requires timely emergency treatment. When airway obstruction occurs, it is necessary to call 120 as soon as possible and cooperate with the dispatching doctor’s inquire and guidance, so that the patient can receive timely and effective rescue and we could save valuable rescue time for the patient before the medical personnel arrive.