UAE: Doctor leaves Iftar with family midway to rush to hospital after frantic call from family of cancer patient

The woman was crying and seeking medical help for her father, says the practitioner who ended his fast with dates and water and went back to work. A doctor was preparing for iftar when he received a call from a patient. Breaking his fast with just a date and some water, he quickly rushed to the hospital, leaving everything behind to attend to a patient who was then diagnosed with cancer after some tests. At 6.30 pm, Professor Humaid Al Shamsi, Director of Medical Oncology at Burjeel Medical City, joined his family at the dining table for iftar. He was all set to break his fast when he received a phone call that changed his schedule, causing him to rush back to duty.

“I did not receive the phone call [the first two times[, but I received it the third time. The lady on the other side was weeping, and seeking for medical help,” said Dr. Al Shamsi. It was a daughter, distraught about her father being in uncontrollable pain and requiring urgent medical attention. Dr. Al Shamsi enquired about their location, and requested that they reach the hospital as soon as possible. He offered his maghrib prayer, and reached the hospital to attend to the patient. When the 59-year-old patient, along with his family, reached the hospital, Ruchika Thadicaren, a general practitioner at Burjeel Hospital Sharjah, and Nurse Shilpa, attended to them. “When they reached the hospital, we conducted preliminary tests and found lesions in the liver,” said Dr. Al Shamsi.

Dr. Al Shamsi said that the daughter was worried as her father did not have insurance – “but we had to attend to the patient and subside [the] pain with medication,” he explained.

A tiring day

Although Dr. Al Shamsi works in Abu Dhabi, he lives in Sharjah, meaning that driving all the way back meant even more exhaustion for the devoted doctor, finally arriving home at 6 pm. “When duty calls, we have to be present. [Regarding the] breaking [of my] fast – Allah will reward me,” said the surgeon.

After undergoing more tests, medical staff “confirmed that the patient had liver cancer, and [we looked] into the medical history of the patient,” said Dr. Shamsi. The patient is currently admitted to the ICU, and further treatment is ongoing. “The next day, we conducted a couple of procedures for him, and have taken biopsies, which came back in three days [revealing] that he has Stage 4 colon cancer.”

Dr. Al Shamsi urged residents to undertake periodic medical tests to detect and treat cancer. “It is very important for people to undergo regular health check-ups so that such deadly diseases are detected early and can be cured,” concluded Dr. AL Shamsi.

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