“It is not the eyes that are blind, but the hearts…” (The Quran 22:46)
Seven-year-old Taha Ahmed was of a delicate build but when he smiled, his eyes would lit up. Taha hailed from Shah Faisal, Karachi. From birth, his little life had been darkened by heart problems which had left him with frightening symptoms, including shortness of breath, wheezing and chest pains.
Unfortunately, his family had to struggle with another brutal reality: Ejaz, Taha’s father, was blind. He knew braille and earned some income by teaching in a government school for blind children. Despite this enormous handicap, Ejaz led a life of patience and wisdom, and as his son’s ailment became clearer, he was determined to find him a cure.
Taha’s family was referred to the experts at AKUH by an NGO called ULPHAT. The family was directed AKUH’s congenital paediatric surgery unit. Taha was diagnosed with a hole in the wall between the two lower heart chambers. In order to prevent damage to other organs, the unit recommended immediate surgery. At this stage, the Patients’ Behbud Society of AKUH and Patient Welfare Programme stepped in, along with ULPHAT. The welfare programmes at AKUH covered 75 per cent of the total cost of treatment.
Although anxious about the surgery, Taha’s parents were given much comfort seeing the comprehensive care their son received.
“At AKUH, we felt no difference in how we were treated as welfare patients when compared with privately paying patients. This institution works for the patients and not for personal gain,” says Ejaz.
Since the surgery, Taha has been able to lead a normal life. Perhaps the most moving part of this story is Ejaz’s resolution of paying back as much of his son’s medical bills as possible. He reacted to his suffering with utmost courage and dignity – setting a shining example for his son.
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