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Doctor’s presentation on boy who choked raises awareness of importance of resuscitation skills

19 December 2019

A Lancaster doctor who helped save a young boy from choking was invited to give a special presentation to fellow clinicians in Prague.

The boy had inhaled some carrot pieces and Dr Zafar Alam’s medical skills helped ensure that he survived his ordeal.

Dr Alam, who works as an Emergency Department Associate Specialist for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), gave his presentation at the European Society for Emergency Medicine (EUSEM) Conference 2019.

Dr Alam said: “Basically my presentation was about a three-year-old boy who was brought into the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in Lancaster by his dad.

“The boy’s father had done basic life support and some pieces of carrot had come out but his son was still choking and out of breath.

“The boy was transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital. We made sure he was stable for the transfer and I followed him up the next day. In Manchester they did a bronchoscopy and four more pieces of carrot came out.”

A bronchoscopy is procedure that lets doctors look at the lungs and air passages of patients. During bronchoscopy, a thin tube called a bronchoscope, is passed through the nose or mouth, down the throat and into the lungs.

After the bronchoscopy the boy was given antibiotics and made a good recovery.

Dr Zafar Alam

Dr Alam, who has worked for the Trust since September 2017, said he was delighted to be invited to Prague to represent the Trust and to give his presentation on the life of the Emergency Department.

He said: “The delegates at the conference were very pleased with my presentation. It is important to raise awareness of this topic. The ingestion of foreign bodies by children is very risky.

“I am always keen to raise awareness of basic resuscitation skills. I think everyone should learn these skills so they can be used at home, if necessary. I would also recommend basic life support at all academic institutional levels.

“As a doctor it is part of your training to learn basic life support skills but it’s good for everyone to know. That is my key message to everyone.”

Dr Alam is also a Clinical Supervisor, a Lancaster Medical School Examiner and a Clinical Teaching Lead. He organises weekly presentations for the Emergency Department at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and for SAS doctors (staff grade, associate specialist and specialty doctors).

Dr Alam was kindly supported to attend the conference thanks to the SAS (Speciality and Associate Speciality) Doctors’ Development Fund. His Colleagues who attended Prague conference were Dr Muhammad Saeed, Associate Specialist and Asim Ijaz, a Consultant, who work with Dr Alam in the Emergency Department.

Dr Alam said he was grateful to Dr Jeremy Harrison, Clinical Lead in the Emergency Department at the RLI, for recommending him to present at the conference and to Mr Romaih Al-Idari, Consultant and Debbie Tierney, a Paediatric Nurse at the RLI, for their sterling work when the boy was brought into hospital.