IIT Kanpur Student Says Engineering Skills Helped Save Man's Life On Flight

Karttikeya Mangalam posted his account of the incident in a write up titled 'Even engineers can save lives'

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IIT Kanpur Student Says Engineering Skills Helped Save Man's Life On Flight

Karttikeya Mangalam was travelling from Switzerland to India when the incident happened.


New Delhi:  A student from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur says that the engineering knowledge he acquired in college helped him save the life of a man who suffered diabetes-related complications mid-air.

In a write up for IIT-Kanpur's in-house magazine, Karttikeya Mangalam, a final year BTech student studying electrical engineering, recollects the incident. The 21-year-old was flying to New Delhi from Geneva via Moscow in February when he realised a man seated two rows behind him needed medical help.

The passenger, according to the student, suffered from Type 1 diabetes and had forgotten his insulin pump at the security check counter at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport. His blood sugar had risen to a dangerous level as it had been over five hours since he had taken his last insulin dose. Though he had the insulin cartridges he needed, he didn't have the device with which he could inject them, Karttikeya wrote.

A doctor on the same flight, also a diabetes patient, had insulin as well as a "pen-esque contraption" used to inject the insulin, he added. However, the patient's insulin cartridges wouldn't fit in the doctor's insulin-pen, the student explained.

The plane was planning to make an emergency landing when Karttikeya went to the patient's seat and saw the doctor struggling to adjust the man's insulin cartridge into his pen.

This is when the engineering student decided to see if he could provide a temporary fix.

Using the airplane WiFi, the student found an engineering drawing style diagram of an insulin pen and realised that the doctor's insulin pen was missing a spring.

"I instructed the air hostess to ask the passengers for ball point pens, which usually have a spring in them," writes Karttikeya.

"I reassembled the pen and gave it back to the doctor who... adjusted the dose, changed the needle and injected the proper dosage of Thomas' own insulin. In about another 15 minutes, his blood sugar levels stopped rising and then started coming down, the doctor reported."

When the flight finally landed in Delhi, the passenger was taken to Gurgaon's Medanta hospital. Enroute the hospital, Karttikeya said the passenger thanked him and even invited him to Amsterdam with a promise of free beer at his restaurant.

Karttikeya's write up titled 'Even engineers can save lives' was tweeted by IIT Kanpur's unverified Twitter handle on May 7.
   
It has earned him praise on Twitter:
 
The student said the incident made him realise the importance of basic engineering skills.

"I think saving a man's life is more than what anyone could ever imagine to achieve from the basic engineering knowledge endowed in that year," he sums up.

(NDTV has reached out to Medanta for a comment.)
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