“Is there a doctor on board?” Was the urgent plea for help from the pilot of a Boeing 747 on an Air China flight from Beijing to Heathrow on Saturday, February 23, 2008.
Pupils from the Bishop Challoner School in south-east London were returning from a nine-day school trip to China when several of the students became critically ill from food poisoning picked up from their last meal in their hotel in Beijing.
The students had become severely dehydrated and went into shock from relentless vomiting part way through the 11-hour flight.
Dr Wendong Qin, a doctor of Chinese medicine from Shandong province, came to the rescue. There were no Western medicines on board to help the students, but Dr. Qin was able to utilize acupuncture points to relieve the symptoms that the teenagers were suffering from including stomach cramps, headaches and shock.
As more and more of the group became sick, the back of the aircraft was turned into a makeshift hospital. Before he had treated the teenagers, Dr Qin said that the pilot had considered making an emergency landing at an alternative airfield, but afterwards felt confident enough to fly on to London.
“About four-and-a-half hours before we arrived in London, the pilot sent a message asking if there was a doctor on board. I went to see what was wrong and found many boys and girls suffering sickness and diarrhea accompanied by severe stomach pains and a high fever.” Dr. Qin said when interviewed.
“The aircraft did not have the necessary medicines so I decided to use traditional Chinese methods, including acupuncture. Unfortunately, I had no needles, as you are not permitted to carry sharp objects on an aircraft, so I used my fingers instead on the acupuncture points of the boys worst affected and the symptoms lessened.
“I treated each patient for 10 to 15 minutes and they felt much better, the sickness and diarrhea had stopped and the pain had gone.”
Emergency Acupuncture Source: Arbroath Herald, February 2008