Engineer Student Uses Skills To Save A Diabetic’s Life In The Skies
It's always comforting to know that there's a doctor on your plane because in the event of something tragic, there'll at least be a professional to help.
But maybe next time you step onboard a flight, you might also want to have an engineer passenger as they can be just as crucial in certain circumstances.
Karttikeya Mangalam was flying from Geneva to New Deli when a person on his flight became ill because they left their insulin pen in the security section of the airport. The person, 30-year-old Tom from Amsterdam, is a Type 1 diabetic.
It'd been five hours since his last dose of insulin and his heath was starting to decline.
Thankfully, the doctor was also a diabetic and had his own pen-type insulin injector and a spare needle for Tom. The only problem was, the Dutchman's specific insulin cartridges were smaller than the ones that needed to fit into the medic's pen.
Realising the problem, the doctor ended up injecting Tom with different, longer-acting insulin, hoping that it would help stave off his problems for a while. It did not.
The flight attendant explained that the plan would have to make an emergency landing somewhere in the Afghanistan-Kazakhstan region due to a 'medical issue'. Tom's condition had deteriorated even further and time was not on their side.
This is where Mr Mangalam came to the rescue.
He went back to Tom and the doctor and asked if there was anything he could do to help. The medic explained that when he tried to administer Tom's own insulin using the pen, the needle wouldn't move the way it was supposed to.
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Writing in a blog post, he said: "Wondering what went wrong and trying to help, I asked the doctor to give me this insulin pen to check what has changed since it was working just fine an hour ago. Also, I requested the air hostess to let me access the premium Wi-Fi available on the plane to check on the pen's manual online
"I looked up the manual and found a large engineering drawing style diagram showing how every part fits with each other.
"I started to methodically open the pen all the while counting the parts that I have accessed while doing so. I realised that somehow there were only 12 parts in it now while the diagram clearly showed 13 different parts.
"On cross-checking I realised that it was missing a spring that coiled before the cartridge and
was essential to transfer the push motion from the back to the needle in front. To troubleshoot this, I searched around Thomas' seat and in the aisle area nearby to find the spring but in vain."
Karttikeya asked the air hostess for a range of pens in order to find a spring, and, lo and behold, he found one that fit.
The engineer student reassembled the pen and the correct insulin was injected. The emergency landing was cancelled and Mr Mangalam went with Tom to the hospital to get a new pump.
He added: "This incident has made me realise the importance of the basic engineering skills we are taught in our freshman year here.
"I think saving a man's life is more than what anyone could ever imagine to achieve from the basic
engineering knowledge endowed in that year."
So the next time you're in that lecture you hate, you might end up using it to save someone's life.
Featured Image Credit: PA/Facebook