Tuesday Jan 24, 2017

British-Pakistani doctor’s innovation being used in over 90 countries

LONDON: A British-Pakistani surgeon, credited with saving tens of thousands of lives worldwide through his revolutionary innovation, has announced to renovate the Nishtar Medical College in Multan by spending an estimated £15 million.

Luton-based qualified human anesthesiologist Dr Mohammed Aslam Nasir is known widely in medical circles for the invention of supraglottic airway device called I-gel which is now used in almost every hospital and ambulance in the UK and in over 90 countries of the world.

Dr Aslam Nasir’s device is widely used in anaesthesia and resuscitation across the world and it's credited with saving tens of thousands of lives so far. The device makes it very easy for the patients to breathe while they are unconscious as the gel-made device is easy to insert and doesn’t cause volatility and injuries in any part of the mouth or throat.

Speaking to this correspondent, Dr Aslam Nasir credits his education in Pakistan for his current international success and wants to pay back to his motherland.

“After graduating from the Nishtar Medical College, I was working at a Karachi hospital when I conceptualised the iGel idea. I came to the UK in 1990 to further my experience in Anaesthesia and started working for the Royal Airforce Hospitals and various NHS trusts. I took time off work and sold my properties to make this device and by the grace of Allah, it has been a success. Now, this device is sold in over 90 countries and has been a revolution in the medical field. Credit goes to my teacher at the Nishtar who helped me.”

Now Dr Aslam Nasir intends to help the Nishtar Medical College Multan and has announced that he will use his own money as well as through Nishtar alumni’s to renovate the hospital. Dr Nasir was in Pakistan during the Christmas break when his father fell ill and he took him to the Nishtar hospital. “I visited the hospital after almost 30 years and was shocked to see that in three decades the condition of the hospital has become worse. The whole infrastructure was broken down and it seemed as if nothing has been done in nearly three decades to maintain the good infrastructure of the hospital. This hospital has done so much for thousands of us who graduated from there. It's our duty to combine forces to make Nishtar hospital a model again.”

Dr Aslam Nasir said: “We plan to start renovation from one side of the hospital e.g. from the A&E and then ward by ward with minimal interruption to the routine function of the Nishtar hospital. We plan to renovate all rooms, wards, offices, corridors, staircases, toilets, windows, doors etc and fix damages internally and externally. We will install new Flooring and paintwork, will provide new beds and nursing stations and of course AC units.”

Dr Nasir says he is already in touch with fellow doctors and friends and has started raising money. He said that overseas Pakistani doctors are heavily involved in efforts to help patients in Pakistan through various means and regularly send machinery and medicine to help some of the most deserving but “more needs to be done”. He called on the government of Pakistan to form a platform for such efforts where such efforts could be channelized in a better way under a well thought-out strategy. He said that during the Kashmir earthquake, around 10 years ago, hundreds of overseas Pakistani doctors spent time in Pakistan and provided relief and helped the victims a great deal.

Dr Nasir told that he has always felt proud that his innovation is mentioned in the UK and rest of the countries with reference to a “Pakistani born and Pakistani educated doctor”. I am pleased that this device is now used 5 times every minute and this itself is a great honour for me, especially so because it's helping to save lives, he said. 

He explained that he decided to work on the new device after getting frustrated with the difficulty in using the various airway devices that were available in the market and how often they caused trauma and issues to patients.