Dubai ambulance service make right call to put teenager on track for 'miracle' recovery from asthma attack

Keanne Alston, 17, suffered a severe asthma attack at his Dubai home in January

Keanne Alston, 17, suffered a severe asthma attack at his Dubai home in January. Courtesy: International Modern Hospital
Keanne Alston, 17, suffered a severe asthma attack at his Dubai home in January. Courtesy: International Modern Hospital

A teenage asthma sufferer who passed out while on the phone to the ambulance service was saved after the call handler used technology to track his location.

Keanne Alston, 17, suffered a severe asthma attack at his Dubai home in January.

He was still unconscious when the ambulance reached his home, and had begun to turn blue due to a lack of oxygen.

Doctors battled to save his life for days, calling his case one of the most challenging they had ever seen.

“As a pulmonologist this was one of the toughest and rarest case I have seen in my career”, said Dr Muhammad Aslam, specialist pulmonologist at International Modern Hospital, who treated Keanne.

“Before he was able to give his history, he collapsed during the conversation.”

For the first few hours, they were essentially treating him blind, as he was unconscious, so they did not have immediate access to his medical history.

His condition continued to deteriorate, despite placing him on a ventilator and using all the available medicines to treat him.

A scan showed part of his lung was blocked, but medication did not relieve the problem, and on the fourth day his heart stopped several times.

Further investigations revealed an “air leak” in one of his lungs.

“I immediately did a chest tube insertion,” said general surgeon, Dr Siva.

He steadily began to improve after that, and is now mostly recovered, aside from some residual roughness in his voice due to the tubes used to save his life.

“This is one of the happiest moments of our lives, when we are able to save the life of a patient,” said Dr Aslam.

Doctors still do not know the cause of the asthma attack, but suspect that it may be related to allergies. The family now plan to do further allergy testing.

Keanne said he was grateful to the doctors for saving his life.

“When I woke up in the ICU I didn’t know it was this severe,” he said.

“I am feeling much better now.”

His mother, Susan Correia Castelino, who has lived in Dubai for 21 years, said it was a “miracle” he survived.

“I don’t know how many people were praying from all different faiths, but it was a miracle he survived that day,” she said.

“The first attack he had was on January 21, when I was at work.

“On January 24 he crashed. That was very bad. He was brought back to life three times, and doctors fought it out for almost four hours.

“They believed there was very little chance of him surviving at that point.”

“They did a wonderful job.”

Updated: February 27, 2021 04:52 PM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one