Dr Danish Ahmad Image Credit: DHA

Dubai: Dubai Health Authority (DHA) doctors and paramedics stationed at the Dubai International Airport saved the life of an international transit passenger, after he suffered two cardiac arrests.

The incident took place at midnight on August 31 and involved an 82-year-old Pakistani transit passenger at the airport.

Dr Abdurazzak Hassan Jumale, medical in-charge at DHA’s Airport Medical Centre, told Gulf News: “The pilgrim was to transit through Dubai and head back to Pakistan. He collapsed while walking on the concourse to board his flight. The initial impact of the fall caused his forehead to hit the glass panel, which caused abrasions and bleeding. He was unresponsive, unconscious and pulseless. Our medical team attended to him swiftly and carried out all necessary procedures.”

Dr Danish Ahmed, specialist registrar at DHA’s Airport Medical Centre, said: “The patient’s condition was critical. We immediately resuscitated him and provided the necessary medications. We then informed Rashid Hospital to be ready to receive him.”

However, the patient was critical and suffered a second cardiac arrest in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

“This was the most challenging part. His heart rhythm became extremely irregular. To revive it, we gave direct current (DC) shocks, a very risky procedure for the ambulance staff. We operate within a tight space in a speeding ambulance going at 140 to 160 kilometres per hour. The risk of ambulance staff getting accidentally hit by the electric shocks is high. Extreme precision and presence of mind is required in these cases,” Dr Ahmad explained.

While rendering the direct current procedure, Dr Ahmad had to simultaneously coordinate other medical instructions with the team. “I had to focus on the patient’s heart rhythm and give clear commands for medication and other interventions, which we conducted simultaneously. The entire team was relieved after we managed to stabilise the patient before he reached the hospital.”

The patient is currently recuperating in Rashid Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

Airport medical aid

The 24/7 DHA-run airport clinic attends to four to seven heart attack cases per month and treats 120 passengers per day. The team has four clinics, three in Dubai International Airport and one at Al Maktoum Airport.

The top four cases encountered by the team are epileptic seizures, strokes, heart attacks and pulmonary embolism, which is a serious condition when the clot travels from the leg to the lung. This is common in patients with deep vein thrombosis. The clinic also treats worksite injuries, mainly involving airport staff.