Case Study: Amirah - "Doing something is better than doing nothing at all"

Dr Amirah Latief found herself taking a stroll in the park after a rescheduled dental appointment. She had used the amenities at a local park kiosk before noticing a commotion nearby – somebody needed urgent help.

Upon closer inspection, Amirah noticed that a young gentleman, Lee, had fallen off his bike and had sustained significant trauma to his head and body. Whilst the emergency services had already been contacted, it became apparent to Amirah that nobody had assessed Lee’s breathing or pulse.

After checking for a pulse and assessing his breathing, she established Lee was in cardiac arrest.

It felt as though all the learning from the past six years of medical school fell into place. In what felt like a frenzy of panic, it felt paramount to maintain a sense of calm.

Amirah delivered CPR alongside several other members of the public, with each of them taking it in turns to deliver effective chest compressions until the ambulance crew arrived. The paramedics asked members of the public to continue chest compressions whilst they assessed the situation and delivered IV fluids. Eventually, after 10-15 minutes of CPR, they were able to make his heart beat again. Lee was then intubated and transferred to ITU.

Unfortunately, Lee succumbed to his injuries and sadly passed away a week later. Undoubtedly, however, the CPR delivered helped to give Lee a fighting chance in the hospital.

For several years, Amirah has volunteered for the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) Lifesavers team. The BIMA Lifesavers project seeks to tackle the apparent lack of BLS education in communities through an annual delivery of BLS teaching by trained volunteers in mosques and community centres. Several participants have gone on to implement these skills during cardiac arrests, ultimately helping to save lives.

She said “To know that a simple training session could be the difference between life and death is truly humbling.”

She continued “You don’t have to be a healthcare professional to know how to deliver basic life support; it is basic for a reason! Anyone can learn BLS, it doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 80. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, what ethnicity you are, whether you believe in God or you don’t.”

In the following days, Amirah was able to get into contact with several members of Lee’s family through social media. They conveyed their immense gratitude for everything that was done by the first responders to help.

Although Lee sadly passed away, it became apparent to her that delivering CPR provided a lifeline and a means of hope. As one family member put: “It allowed me and my family to spend quality time with him”.

Amirah concluded: “Whilst there can be no guarantee of CPR being successful, there is always a chance. So, hold on to that chance, be that hope, deliver that lifeline. And if there is anything I learned on that sombre day in the park, it is that doing something is better than doing nothing at all.”