The waters of the Brahmaputra were rising, communication links faltering and his friend struggling to breathe. Time was running out but Mohfisur Rehman did not lose hope and reached out from distant Assam to doctors in Delhi to give Lalchand Biswas, suffering from acute liver failure, a fresh lease of life.
In a heroic tale of floods and friendship beyond religious boundaries amid a pandemic, the pharmacist put his stranded friend in a small boat, brought him to an area of Assam's Morigaon town where the mobile signal was strong and set up a web conference with doctors at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here.
In dramatic scenes that could be straight from a film, Rehman then proceeded to follow the doctor's instructions, using his training as a pharmacist to do a physical examination, give his friend injections and even an enema all from the small boat.
"We thought we would lose him. His condition was really deteriorating. His family cannot speak in Hindi or English, so I offered to help them and contacted the doctor at Ganga Ram. I did what a friend in need would do. Our religion is immaterial, humanity matters," Rehman, thankful to doctors at SGRH, told PTI from Morigaon.
"In that moment, I felt like a doctor doing his duty," the 35-year-old said.
Recounting the emergency rescue mission for Biswas, whose liver cirrhosis had developed into liver failure, officials at SGRH on Thursday said the distress call came about two weeks ago.
The call was to Dr Ushast Dhir, consultant in the Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant. Rehman described the symptoms and told him "the patient was drowsy, having difficulty in breathing and had swelling in abdomen", a senior official said.
Dhir, with support from his colleagues, made arrangements for a "quick medical consultationâ€ through tele-conferencing.
"The patient was brought by a boat to an area where mobile phone signal was catching. The entire web-conference was done on the small boat," the official said.
One big hurdle was the language barrier as Biswas could not communicate with the doctors. Rehman stepped in to translate.
Rehman was not very familiar with administering injections and an enema but closely followed what the doctor was saying.
"Rehman''s degree in pharmacy came handy in this situation. He followed the instructions given by Dr Dhir and did clinical examinations and administered injections to his friend," the official said.
Within an hour, a repeat link was established to check Biswas condition. He had thankfully stabilised by then.
Biswas, who is in his 40s, will be called to Delhi for further medical treatment once the situation stabilises, hospital authorities said.
"The floods in Assam have brought life to a standstill... But in these challenging times there are these stories of courage, friendship and communal unity that offer us a glimmer of hope," the hospital said in a statement.
Reports and visuals of people suffering the floods in the northeastern state have given a glimpse of the suffering of the people.
The hospital said medical advice and drugs to the patient were provided free of cost.
"The patient was not only given medical advice but the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital also arranged and ensured that life-saving medicines for a one-month course reached the patient," Dhir said.
According to D S Rana, chairperson (Board of Management), SGRH, "Our hospital follows the ideals of Sir Ganga Ram, who was always in the forefront to help needy patients, irrespective of region, religion and their financial conditions. This was one more such step in that direction." PTI KND MIN MIN MIN
Categories: Acute Liver Failure
Tags: acute liver failure