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Dr Kafeel Ahmed, the hero who saved lives in Gorakhpur, now removed from hospital duties

India Today logo India Today 13-08-2017

At the time when Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College was in shambles over its rude awakening to the fast depleting oxygen supply, one man stood tall to save as many lives as possible.

And he has now been removed from all hospital duties. On the intervening night of August 11, Dr Kafeel Ahmed, child specialist and doctor in-charge of the encephalitis ward received a frantic call from the hospital, informing him that all oxygen will soon dry up.

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Well aware that patients of encephalitis will not survive without continuous oxygen supply, Dr Ahmed swung into action and rushed to nearby hospitals to borrow cylinders for some critical patients. The first hospital he sought help from, gave him three cylinders- which he immediately drove to the hospital.

Ahmed then made several such trips to various hospitals nearby to borrow oxygen cylinders till the next morning. By Friday morning, the oxygen supply had almost trickled down to cipher, when Ahmed instructed his junior staff to pump oxygen through ambu bags (a self-inflating bag).

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All the while, Dr Ahmed continued to reach out to his doctor friends in other hospitals and local vendors to send some oxygen cylinders. He did manage to collect 12 oxygen cylinders and soon after received a call from a local supplier promising to send cylinders but only on cash payments.

Dr Ahmed then handed over his debit card to one of his juniors and asked him to withdraw cash to furnish the payment at the earliest. His efforts did not go in vain but Dr Kafeel Ahmed did see 60 children die in front of him- gasping for air.

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