Living Revolution | Medicine and Public Health

A New Portable X-Ray Machine for the Countryside

- China Pictorial Dec. 1968, p.44

"In medical and health work, put the stress on the rural areas."

In accordance with this teaching of Chairman Mao's, the revolutionary workers and staff of the Kweichow Provincial Medical Equipment Factory, during the great proletarian cultural revolution, sent investigating teams to the countryside to find out what medical equipment was urgently needed there. They discovered that because quite a few mobile medical teams lacked X-ray machines, the doctors came across many difficulties in diagnosis. This also inconvenienced the peasants. In many places, the poor and lower middle peasants, in order to have an X-ray examination, had to go scores of li to the county hospital. Faced with this problem, the factory decided to trial produce a portable X-ray machine suitable for the use of mobile medical teams in rural and mountainous areas.

The factory's revolutionary committee gave the job to a technician, who was a university graduate, and a worker with practical experience, and put the worker in charge. But the technician looked down on the worker who was only a primary school graduate. He buried his head in reference books and spent all day making calculations. Finally he came up with a complicated designing plan which called for more equipment and personnel. According to his plan, without a high-vacuum installation, making the X-ray machine was out of the question.

The ideas of the worker with practical experience were quite different. What he thought of was the urgent need of the broad masses of poor and lower middle peasants and the medical workers who were combating disease in the countryside. He did not ask the state for more personnel and equipment, he just started working with some wrenches, an electric meter and other simple tools. When he ran into technical difficulties he called a meeting of some revolutionary workers for discussion. They pooled their wisdom and solved the problems.

Finally, in this way, a portable X-ray machine was successfully trial produced. It weighs only 15 kg. Packed in its case, it can easily be carried on one's back. After examination by the department concerned, this portable X-ray machine is rated the best of its kind.

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