By Sajad Ahmad.
So I am standing in “The book shop”, a newly launched bookstore, welcomed and awaited good news after the last shut its doors to customers a few months ago in Peshawar, Pakistan.
I am trying to find books when I hear a loud thud, an elderly woman had collapsed on the floor hitting her head and back on the table behind her, her daughter panicking, (this is in Peshawar) they tried to sit her up, my adrenaline surge pushes me forward, I shout, “leave her laying down! I am a doctor” and then a thought comes to my mind, I am unsure of the services available here, I try to speak to the elderly lady, she is unresponsive with a vacant look. Next, I check her breathing, there is a very slow effort, suddenly she starts to gasp and lets her breath out. Panic sets in, her pulse barely palpable. I keep my hand on her pulse and suddenly I feel it stopping, “lay her flat”, I shout, while at the same time saying she needs CPR, I attempt and after a few compressions, I feel her responding moving her eyes, again.
She starts to breath better, her pulse becomes stronger.
The next moment I shout out, call for an ambulance, call 1122, it’s the equivalent of 999 we have come to know in U.K. I am unsure if this will work in Peshawar! I explain, now that the lady is more stable, I am a doctor, but don’t work in Pakistan and am here on a holiday. I am unsure of the services here.
We gradually help the lady to a chair, two guys from the shop are waving books to fan the lady. She feels somewhat better.
Next, I start taking a detailed history and ask for a paper and pen to write it for the family, I think the doctors in the hospital would need it.
I don’t recognise the names of the medications, they are trade names, and I am used to the UK system of generic drug names, here is a learning outcome for me!
The next thing I see, is the efficient paramedic from the 1122 service, arrived, taking no longer than 10 minutes in Peshawar traffic!
I hand over to him with details, giving the written sheet, and my phone number to the family.
I hope she recovers, I have hope that Peshawar is on the way to reforms. Well done 1122!