When Dr Khurshid Guru heard there was a child suffering an asthma attack aboard his transatlantic flight last week, he knew what to do. Armed only with a plastic water bottle, a cup, some tape and an oxygen tank, the doctor created a makeshift inhaler that finally saved the life of the toddler.
Khurshid Guru, who is the Director of Robotic Surgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York, is no stranger to innovative gadgets.
During the flight, the 2-year old toddler suffered an asthma attack and needed his medication. However, his parents had accidentally packed them in the checked-in luggage.
Faced with an emergency thousands of feet in the air aboard an Air Canada flight from Spain to the US, Dr Guru's skills of innovation helped save the child's life mid-air.
Flying back from ERUS15 had to design a nebuliser for a 2 yr old asthmatic over the atlantic. Thank God kid did well! pic.twitter.com/fQOJ2Ac0EA— Khurshid A. Guru (@KhurshidGuru) September 18, 2015
When Dr Guru saw the child's oxygen level was dipping down to a dangerously low level, he knew he needed to do something quickly.
The plane only had an adult inhaler on board, which wouldn't be of much help.
So, the doctor, who normally works with high-tech robots to treat patients, came up with a jerry-rigged device similar to a nebulizer that would deliver both oxygen and asthma medication to the child.
He hooked up the adult inhaler to a hole in the the bottle and added oxygen through another opening he had made so the toddler could inhale both simultaneously.
In an effort to make it easier for the toddler to use his contraption, Guru modified his design by cutting a hole in a plastic cup and mounting it atop the bottle so that it could fit against his mouth and nose.
"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. Within about half an hour and two treatments he was sounding much better," the doctor told ABC News in an interview.
After the very unusual treatment, the child's oxygen level was at a normal level within a few minutes.
By the time the plane landed, the 2-year-old was playing with his mother.
The Indian-origin doctor has worked with a UB collaborator to develop one of the first robotic surgical simulators, called the RoSS. In November, this year he will receive the Thomas B. Tomasi MD, PhD Hope Award.