|WENCHUAN, Sichuan, May 3, 2018 -- Huang Wancai, 50, felt relieved after learning that the mysterious heart pain that has been plaguing him for two years was no big deal.
He got the good news after having a coronary arteriography on Tuesday in Wenchuan county in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the epicenter of a devastating earthquake nearly 10 years ago.
Han Yaling, a leading expert on cardiovascular disease, flew in with her team from Beijing to perform the operation. They were among more than 600 medical professionals from across China who volunteered to provide services to local people in commemoration of the disaster that killed more than 80,000 people.
"We just performed the first-ever coronary arteriography in Wenchuan. The advanced operation is very effective in diagnosing and treating certain cardiovascular diseases," Han said. "All the patient felt during the entire operation was a slight sting."
During the operation, Han explained in great detail to local doctors how it should be done, as well as how to operate the imported angiography machine, which was beyond the knowledge of local doctors. The hospital also live-streamed the operation so more community-level doctors could learn from the expert.
"Doctors from across the country not only brought health to patients in Wenchuan, but also helped improve the medical expertise of local doctors," said Wang Songbai, director of People's Hospital of Wenchuan county.
In the aftermath of the Wenchuan earthquake that struck on May 12, 2008, thousands of volunteers, including many medical professionals, went to the worst-affected regions to help.
Among the ruins of collapsed buildings, a project named Create China Heart was initiated to keep the volunteering spirit alive. In the following years, it grew to become one of China's signature volunteer projects, providing free medical assistance to more than 500,000 people in poor and remote regions of the country.
Nearly 10 years later, the same spirit remains in the mountainous regions of Wenchuan, which has seen doctors treat the sick, provide free medicine to villagers and give lectures to less experienced local doctors.
For Wang Gesheng, a neuropathic expert from a Beijing hospital. who rushed to the quake-affected region in 2008, what he saw today made him feel encouraged.
"I am greatly heartened by the happy life of the local people," Wang said. "The medical standards here have been immensely improved since I first came 10 years ago."
On Tuesday morning, he visited a village six kilometers away from the county center and treated over 30 patients. He was pleased to find that the health conditions of the villagers were generally okay, but advised them to take precautions against certain diseases easily caused by the environment and their dietary habits.
After a recent heart operation, Dong Wanxiang often felt pain in her shoulder. Learning that doctors from Beijing were visiting her village, she waited in the village clinic to have herself checked.
"I am very happy I can receive the free medical check," Dong said after being assured that the pain was a normal symptom of the operation. "I am no longer worried."