It had been a long day. As the sun dipped, Dr. Zahid Abdul Majeed prayed and sat down to end his fast for the day. Suddenly an emergency alert came through. Without a thought, the critical care doctor at the All India Institute Of Medical Sciences, Delhi (AIIMS), got up and dashed to respond.
A dying coronavirus patient needed his help - a matter of life and death. This was on May 7. He has now become another example of how healthcare workers are saving lives amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in India. Because, he went a step further and put his own life at risk while trying to help the patient.
A series of May 8 Twitter posts from a fellow AIIMS doctor, Harjit Singh Bhatti @DrHarjitBhatti, brought to people’s attention of how Dr Majeed potentially saved the patient’s life while risking his own.
Upon the doctor reaching the ambulance, he noted difficulty in ventilating the patient and suspected accidental extubation or malpositioning of the tube placed into the patient’s windpipe, Bhatti wrote.
Dr Majeed could not see well through his protective goggles and immediately decided to take his gear off before re-intubating the patient “in sub-optimal conditions keeping in mind the imminent death of the patient if he failed," wrote Bhatti.
In an emotional post, Bhatti added: “He didn’t think twice before taking full blown aerosol exposure from the patient. I don’t know how astute the decision was to put one’s self at risk.”
Giving an update about Dr Majeed and asking for prayers, Bhatti ended the Twitter thread with: “But Zahid definitely prevented an inevitable death. He got himself exposed to highest possible viral load just to deliver his duty. I don’t know if Zahid will contract COVID-19, but I pray that he comes out well and strong. He is in quarantine, pray for him #storiesOfStrength.”
"I am staying alone and waiting for my tests. If that comes negative, I can join work again otherwise I may have to remain under isolation for 14 days,” Dr Majeed was quoted as saying.
Social media users were quick to praise Dr Majeed’s selfless act.
Tweep @Harneetsin wrote: “Salute. You guys are heroes. May God bless you all.”
Twitter user @pia_thawani wished the doctor well: “Dr Zahid will be recovering soon the prayers never go unanswered. I'll pray for his speedy recovery in life, get well soon Dr Zahid.”
Tweep @aqhbb wrote about how doctors treat their patients: “Here's the thing, for us, a patient is a patient, a life is a life. Religion, caste, race, gender, colour are all below humanity. Still I fail to understand why a lot of people see everything above basic humanity. Each life is precious and every single one matters and counts for us.”