“It is not the eyes that are blind, but the hearts…” (The Quran 22:46)
Seven-year-old Taha Ahmed is of a delicate build. When he smiles, his eyes light up. Taha hails from the Golden Town Area of Karachi. From birth, his little life had been darkened by heart problems that had left him with frightening symptoms, including shortened breath, wheezing and chest pains.
Unfortunately, his family has had to struggle with another terrible trial: Ejaz, Taha’s father, is blind. He has learnt brail and earns some income by teaching in a government school for blind children. Despite this enormous handicap, Ejaz faced his family’s problems with wisdom and determination by seeking help for his son.
Taha’s family was referred to the experts at AKUH by an NGO called ULPHAT. In April 2015, the family was directed to Dr Mehnaz Atiq of the 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 Taha’s 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 consoled by the comprehensive care their son received. The efforts of a medical team led by paediatric surgeon Dr Mohammad Muneer Amanullah, meant their son was undergoing procedures under expert eyes.
“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 was successfully performed in May 2015, 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.