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Health Agreement Asks Chinese People to Help Strangers

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

A recent agreement between the American Heart Association and China could reduce deaths from heart attack and stroke in China and, possibly, beyond.

Cardiovascular disease, including stroke and heart attack, is the main cause of early death in China and many developing countries. Studies show that cardiovascular disease kills more than 17 million people around the world every year. In the next 15 years that number is expected to rise to 23 million. These deaths are, for the most part, preventable.

Douglas Boyle works for the American Heart Association. He spoke at the agreement signing ceremony in Washington, D.C. Mr. Boyle said the partnership can help people live longer and healthier lives.

The agreement between the American Heart Association and China has three main parts. It calls for increasing opportunities for researchers, healthcare providers and public health specialists in the U.S. to meet with those in China. The agreement also seeks the sharing of cardiovascular research. And, finally, it calls for training in China of life-saving techniques such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

CPR can restart a stopped heart. CPR has helped lower death rates from heart disease in the United States by 30 percent. Improvements in medical science and educational campaigns about preventing heart disease also played a part.

The American Heart Association says teaching CPR to the people of China may help save lives. China’s population is very large. So, the association says it is highly likely that a bystander will need to help someone who is in cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart activity, breathing, and consciousness.

CPR combines rescue breathing and chest compressions. Rescue breathing requires breathing into the victim’s mouth to provide oxygen to the person’s lungs. To perform the compressions, place one hand over the other and press firmly on the center of the victim’s chest repeatedly. This permits oxygen-rich blood to continue flowing until the heartbeat and breathing are restored.

The following videos are from the American Heart Association. They demonstrate how to give CPR.

This one is serious ...

... this one is not.

The question is, will a bystander in China give CPR to a complete stranger having a heart attack?

Several media reports have suggested that people in China may be resistant to helping strangers in medical emergencies. This could be because the person helping can be held legally responsible for damage to the injured person.

Several of these reports went viral on the web.

In 2011, there was a video online of the two-year-old girl who was hit by a vehicle. The video shows eighteen people pass by her before someone helped. The little girl, Wang Yue, later died from her injuries. In 2014, a man killed himself after he helped a stranger who later demanded money from him.

These incidents may be few; but they draw attention to a lacking area of China’s legal system. According to the China Daily as well as other newspapers, China does not have a national Good Samaritan law. Good Samaritan laws protect people who aid others in medical need.

I’m Anna Matteo.

VOA correspondent Carol Pearson reported this story from Washington, D.C. Anna Matteo wrote it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

opportunity n. an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done

bystander n. a person who is standing near but not taking part in what is happening

cardiac arrest n. medical temporary or permanent stopping of the heartbeat

compressionn. the act, process, or result of pressing something together or pressing on something

went viral expression becoming very popular by circulating quickly from person to person, especially through the Internet

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