Last updated: 10:33 AM ET, Fri September 25 2015

Doctor Makes Makeshift Nebulizer for Ill Child Aboard Air Canada Flight

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | September 25, 2015

Doctor Makes Makeshift Nebulizer for Ill Child Aboard Air Canada Flight

Photo via Twitter/Kurshid A. Guru

Doctor Khurshid Guru is urging parents of asthmatic children to keep their medication close by in wake of a scary incident aboard a trans-Atlantic Air Canada flight Sept. 18.

ABC News reported Guru, a New York-based robotic oncologic surgeon, sprung into action aboard the flight from Spain to the U.S. earlier this month when an asthmatic two-year-old passenger became upset and short of breath. 

"The child had developed a cold," Guru told ABC. "We were three or four hours into the flight. I think the cold and popping of the ears and crying...He got worse."

Because the boy's parents had mistakenly packed his asthma medication in their checked luggage, Guru was forced to get creative when he found that the child's oxygen level was dipping dangerously low.

Using the plane's adult inhaler and a variety of other materials found on board, including a plastic cup and water bottle, Guru constructed a makeshift nebulizer — a machine that allows asthma medication to be inhaled as a mist — that was able to improve the boy's oxygen level to a healthy percentage.

"I got a water cup and made a hole in the bottle and focused it to his face...told [the parents] to keep it there," Guru told ABC. "Within about half an hour and two treatments he was sounding much better."

Guru said that he saw the boy playing with his mother by the time the flight was prepared to land. 

After the flight, Guru took to Twitter to post photos of his life-saving creation.

The doctor's heroism prompted an unprecedented shoutout from the airline. 

"We typically cannot discuss customer matters for privacy reasons," an Air Canada spokesman said in a statement via ABC. "Nonetheless, we are deeply appreciative of the doctor’s efforts and for his actions assisting one of our customers."

Guru, who admits he's been asked to assist ill passengers aboard trans-Atlantic flights in the past, told ABC that he hopes his story helps prevent similar mid-flight asthma scares in the future, reminding traveling parents to keep their children's medication nearby. 


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