Dr Shabbir Ahmed Naeem was busy in his usual routine one day, when he suffered a paralysis attack. An Associate Professor of Radiology at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), Dr Shabbir had no apparent medical complaint before the attack. He always considered himself blessed with good health and was leading a happy family life, with three wonderful children, and a grandchild. Things were going well for him, when suddenly this tragic episode happened and everything seemed to come crushing down.
The paralysis attack was so severe that it left him completely immobile. He was immediately rushed to The Aga Khan University Hospital, where an immediate MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan was conducted. The scan revealed that a bone spur (bony projection that had developed along the edges of bones) in his spine had caused damage to the surrounding nerves and triggered the paralysis attack and consequent immobility.
After assessments and medical investigations, Dr Ather Enam, Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery at The Aga Khan University Hospital, conducted a 4 hour long operation and removed the spur successfully. After the surgery, Dr Shabbir Ahmed was told that his recovery would take 6 weeks, during which he would be likely to experience severe pain and suffer from limited physical mobility and difficulty in moving his limbs.
This incident changed Dr Shabbir’s life completely. He had to leave his job; routine tasks became impossible to carry out and he was slowly sliding into depression. With such great deal of troubles it was important to bring him back to the life he had always lived. To ease his rehabilitation, the medical specialists at the AKUH recommended a rigorous session of physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
Dr Fatima Rizvi, Occupational Therapist and Dr Asim Khan, Physiotherapist, at The Aga Khan University Hospital, designed a detailed exercise plan best suited for Dr Shabbir’s condition. The occupational therapy and physiotherapy were conducted simultaneously for maximum results. These were initially home-based and after 2 weeks he was asked to visit the Physiotherapy Centre at the AKUH. Starting with spinal cord exercises, both the doctors and the patient worked their way to the arms and legs.
It was a long road to recovery but dedicated efforts by Dr Shabbir’s medical team and his own devotion paid off, and with continued therapy, Dr Shabbir gradually started regaining control of his limbs. He stayed focused and attended follow up sessions at the AKUH Physiotherapy Centre regularly.
Within a month, Dr Shabbir had shown massive improvement. The AKUH doctors advised exercises that were to be continued at home. He followed them diligently and step by step, life started to return to normal for him and his family. From performing daily tasks to resuming his post as the Associate Professor at SIUT, all became possible within just 2 months after his spinal surgery.
To maintain healthy life and overall fitness, Dr Shabbir still visits the AKUH Physiotherapy Centre regularly. He is now living a happy healthy life and commends the services and care provided at the AKUH. He was able to regain his health and recover because the experienced team at the AKUH diagnosed him correctly, treated him swiftly, and worked with him throughout his rehabilitation phase. Today, Dr Shabbir’s message to every patient is to seek timely medical care, with an experienced team, and trust their doctor and the rest of the medical team to provide the best possible care to them.