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Ramadan in UAE: For these paramedics, patients come first – News

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Meet the emergency nurses and ambulance drivers who always carry water bottles and dates so they can break their fast on the go


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published: Monday, March 27, 2023 at 8:05 am

Be it an ordinary day or the holy month of Ramadan, the duty of a caregiver always comes first.

Paramedic and emergency nurse Elsaed Saab and ambulance driver Mohammad Siddiq are usually on the road and never turn away patients, whether starting or ending a fast.

Given the nature of their work, duty to the Almighty and duty to man always go hand in hand. They always have a water bottle and some dates with them, so when an emergency call comes, they’re on the move.

The pair – Saber and Sidhique – work at the Thumbay University Hospital in Ajman.

“We work 24/7. Although my duties are from 7am to 7pm, there is nothing more powerful than helping a patient, and we never say no to a patient. Whether it’s 2am or sunset , I’m all very happy to volunteer for patients. What we do is, we bring a bottle of water with us and if it’s time for Iftar, if I have to take care of a patient, I usually do it on the go. Once the patient gets Ambulance and taken to hospital, I’ll have a decent meal,” Sidhique, an Indian national, told the Khaleej Times.

As a healthcare practitioner in emergencies, Saber, an Egyptian citizen, tries to practice the Ramadan virtues of sacrifice and kindness to those who need them. “Since this is my first Ramadan in the UAE, I am enjoying the spirit of the UAE, which is very similar to Egypt. It feels like a home away from home.”

For Saber and Sidhique, their work in emergencies often extends beyond the stipulated iftar time.

Sidhique, who works from 7am to 7pm, also breaks his fast during his shift. “I carry a bottle of water and dates, and as soon as I hear the sunset prayer, I break my fast and continue with my work. If I’m not dealing with an emergency and I’m still working, I break my fast with my colleagues. I love cooking food , so I usually prepare Suhoor and Iftar with special Indian dishes that we all share,” he said.

Emergency call when breaking fast

For Muhamed Sidhique, the passion for his work never really waned, whether he was fed or not. “I will deal with the patient’s emergency first because it is my responsibility. Once the patient is taken to the hospital and cared for by the hospital staff, I go to eat.”

For Elsayed Saber, treating emergency patients was no different.

“During Ramadan, emergencies do not decrease. I take care of their needs before eating and praying.”

In some cases, Muhamed Sidhique had to hastily transfer patients to hospitals during iftar

He recounted an incident: “Recently, an elderly Emirati patient had extreme back pain and he called for an emergency ambulance. When we reached his home, Azaan (prayer prayer) started. He and his family invited us to start with them We broke the fast together and we shared the meal. We took him to the hospital afterwards.”

‘missing my family’

Muhamed Sidhique from Kerala has been unable to eat iftar and fast with his wife, two children, mother and sister for years.

“I spend most of Ramadan away from my family. My colleagues are my family. Sometimes, we prepare special dishes and share our meals.”

But this is Elsayed Saber’s first Ramadan in the UAE, away from my family in Egypt.

“Yes, I miss my wife and two kids back home. I often break the fast with colleagues and friends on duty or in the staff quarters – they have become my extended family here too. We love the local offerings that Eid has to offer Good food and a lot of multicultural food,” concludes Saber.

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