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15 critical among 70 injured

15 critical among 70 injured

SOME 70 people injured in Monday's blaze at the apartment building in Jing'an District were still recovering in hospital last night.

Most of the injured, whose ages range from three to 85, were stable, although 15 were still in a critical condition, the city government said yesterday.

People suffering from severe burns and smoke inhalation or those whose condition could deteriorate were transferred to Ruijin Hospital and Changhai Hospital, the city's two centers for burn.

Twenty-three patients from Jing'an District Central Hospital were sent to Ruijin and 18 from Huadong Hospital and Putuo District Central Hospital - including a three-year-old girl - went to Changhai.

All the patients in Ruijin were in a stable condition last night after receiving emergency treatment.

Changhai Hospital said seven patients were in a critical condition. Six patients underwent emergency operations to open up their windpipes to assist breathing.

The hospital was particularly concerned about two patients.

At Changhai Hospital yesterday afternoon, three-year-old Wang Liang was coughing and crying from time to time, as she recovered from her harrowing ordeal.

Her father carried the little girl in his arms all the way down from the 16th floor to escape the inferno.

"Fortunately, her father was at home when the fire broke out," said Wang Liang's grandmother, who was taking care of her at hospital. "If there had been only her grandfather and me there, she could have died."

"She was terrified of the flames, all she kept saying was, 'fire, fire, on fire,'" said the woman, tearful at the recollection.

At 85, He Qirong, who lived on the 6th floor, is the oldest of the injured. He was in a stable condition in Huadong Hospital yesterday.

Health authorities have started to offer psychological counseling to patients and their families to ease their trauma following the blaze horror.

"The first 24 to 72 hours after a disaster is the vital period for treatment," said Xiao Zeping, president of Shanghai Mental Health Center.

The center has sent teams to hospitals and temporary accommodation.

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