Saving a Life by Ahmed Barben, Iraq

It was at lunchtime on January 2016 and it was on the first day of our 2 and half months of our pediatric training course for medical school. We had just finished class when my friend Haider and I decided to walk through the yard of the hospital to familiarize ourselves with our new  environment.

As we were walking, a young man appeared, running out from one of the rooms; he was frightened. He gave us the look of needing help. As medical students, it was not our duty to interact with patients directly without supervision. I checked around for a nurse or an intern, there was no one except us in the vicinity. There was no chance of getting back and refusing to help. It was prohibited to let my fears appear on the outside. Although, to be quite honest I was shaking from the inside-out, not knowing what was awaiting me inside the room. If something went bad it will mean the loss of the patient’s trust, and that would be bad for the patient and for me.

So I decided to jump in the room and asked Haider to fetch the resident doctor and a nurse. As I entered, I saw a middle age woman holding a cyanosed new-born baby with her hands and crying vividly, she was apparently the new Mom. I asked her to calm down, assured her that everything will be okay, and I took the baby from her hands, the baby was bluish in color and there was no signs of breathing so I checked the vitals and began to press over his chest while adjusting the oxygen tubes.

As I was figuring out what to do next, ideas came to my head, this was only the fourth CPR I was doing in my entire life. The ones before were not at all successful, however, it is important to note that those patients were at end stage diseases. I didn’t want to lose this baby, he was too young, and he deserves the chance to live!

I also wondered where the resident doctor could possibly be!

I think I was lucky that day! After about five minutes of the usual CPR cycles, the baby took a breath, and a soft cry followed. Gradually, his color changed back to pinkish again, and the cries were becoming louder. I was instantly  relieved and took a deep breath myself. I said to myself “You did it!”. I looked at the mom she was looking back to me while she was still crying but this time she was crying from joy with a thank you look behind her tears.

After that, the resident doctor entered the room; she was asking what’s was wrong!

My reflections on this experience were that this was the first time I had the chance to really save a life.This was the first time I felt the power of helping others and that we can make changes if we have the courage to go in there and do our best. And most importantly, not to surrender to the feelings of failure and to always try again.

 Most likely I will be in many other lifesaving situations, I hope I will succeed most times but I also know that I may fail in others. However, I also know that I should always keep going and improve my skills and be there whenever someone needs help.

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