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NRI doctor saves asthmatic toddler’s life during flight

world Updated: Sep 28, 2015 15:51 IST
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Khurshid Guru, the doctor who saved the asthmatic toddler’s life during a flight, with the device he made on board using a cup and bottle.(Twitter)

A US doctor of Indian-origin saved the life of a 2-year-old boy who suffered an asthma attack on-board a transatlantic flight with the help of a makeshift inhaler that he made out of a cup and a bottle.

Dr Khurshid Guru, director of Robotic Surgery at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York was aboard the Air Canada flight from Spain to the US on September 18 when he was notified of the toddler in trouble. The boy was crying and short of breath and his parents had accidentally packed his asthma medication in checked luggage, ‘ABC News’ reported.

“The child had developed a cold. We were three or four hours into the flight. I think the cold and popping of the ears and crying. He got worse,” said Guru.

The child’s oxygen level was dipping down to a dangerously low level. He needed oxygen but also asthma medication. However, the plane only had an adult inhaler on board, which would not be of much help, he said.

Guru, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, came up with a jerry-rigged device similar to a nebulizer that would deliver both oxygen and asthma medication to the crying child. He cut up a water bottle and added oxygen to one end and the adult inhaler through a small hole in the bottle. That way the oxygen and medication could be delivered through the bottle’s opening directly to the child.

“As the bottle went near to the child’s face, he pushed it away. I got a water cup and made a hole in the bottle and focused it to his face ... told [the parents] to keep it there. Within about half an hour and two treatments, he was sounding much better,” Guru said.

After the very unusual treatment, the child’s oxygen level was back to normal, he said. By the time the plane landed, the 2-year-old was playing with his mother.