AIIMS Doctor, Zahid Abdul Majeed, Risks Own Life to Save a Covid Patient

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Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Dr Zahid Abdul Majeed, a senior resident at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIM), put his own life at risk to save a covid patient. The doctor removed his PPE (goggles and face-shield) to re-incubate his patient to prevent an inevitable death when he was on the way to a trauma center in the ambulance on May 7. He is now in quarantine.

Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, his colleague at AIIMS, through a series of tweets, put out details of the incident in which Dr Zahid had taken the step at grave risk to own life. It happened when the doctor, who works at the critical care division of the hospital, was called for shifting a positive incubated patient to the ICU. On the duty, Dr Zahid was unable to break his fast when he did this.

“Unfortunately, when Zahid reached the ambulance, he noted difficulty in ventilating the patient and suspected accidental extubation. He immediately decided to re-incubate. Owing to poor visibility through the PPE inside the ambulance, he decided to remove his goggles,” tweeted Bhatti.

“And then re intubated the patient in such sub optimal condition keeping in mind the imminent death of the patient if he failed. He didnt think twice before taking full blown aerosol exposure from the patient. I dont know how astute the decision was to put one self at risk. But zahid definitely prevented an inevitable death. He got himself exposed to highest possible viral load just to deliver his duty. I dont know if zahid will contract COVID, but i pray that he comes out well and strong. He is in quarantine, pray for him,” he added.

The commitment of Dr Zahid towards his profession and patient drew a lot of attention on social media. The doctor, who hails from Kashmir’s Wanihama-Dialgam village in Anantnag district, has been working at the AIIMS for two years. He said he was worried about the reaction of his father to this. But his father called him on Sunday and took pride of his action.

“My father called me today [Sunday] and said even if I were to die from COVID-19, he would not grieve as I saved the life of a patient and may die as a martyr. It felt like a weight had been lifted from my heart. My parents appreciated the spirit with which this intervention was performed,’’ Dr Zahid was quoted by The Hindu as saying.

Talking about the incident, Dr Zahid said that this is not an example to follow. Every doctor needs to wear PPE to protect him- or herself.

“When the transfer was happening, I realised that the patient’s tube was mal-positioned and that without immediate intervention, the patient would go into a cardiac arrest. In a dim-lit ambulance, working with PPE wasn’t a viable option and I quickly removed the face-shield [they were fogging up] and goggles while keeping my N-95 mask on to perform the procedure. I immediately reported the breach in PPE and was advised to proceed to quarantine,’’ said Dr. Zahid.

He said that he only reacted in that situation the way he has seen his teachers and seniors go extra miles for the patient.

“This is the holy month of Ramadan and I reacted to a fellow human-being in distress. As a doctor and a human being, I couldn’t have let harm come to my patient. The thinking and orientation at AIIMS are such that I have always seen my teachers and seniors go that extra mile for the patients… it does affect the way you start looking at your duty,’’ said Dr Zahid.

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