The Holy Quran.—AP Photo

LAHORE: Spiritual healing begins where the prowess of medical science ends. This seems to be the conclusion of at least a case study of a young patient who came out from the jaws of death.

Hafiz Abbas, 22, a resident of Rajgarh, consumed wheat poisoning pill on Feb 19 and was brought to the ICU (intensive care unit) of the Services Hospital, Lahore. Usually doctors consider such cases as ‘hopeless’ given the survival rate of such patients, which is only 10 per cent.

The patient’s organs like liver, pancreas, kidneys and heart were deteriorating but an on-duty doctor, Dr Muhammad Javed, took it as a challenge and started treatment. “During six-hour struggle, the patient was treated with 150 electric shocks to keep his heart beating. His stomach and kidneys were washed and with the help of supporting treatment, he came out of unconsciousness.

“I’ve never seen any patient whose heart beat stops 150 times and is resuscitated by as many electric shocks,” says Dr Javed.

The result may be surprising for other doctors but Dr Javed was sure what worked in the case. It was not any medicine but recitation of the glorious verses from the Holy Quran that did the miracle.

“During the treatment of Abbas, Surah Al-Rehman was continuously played by his bedside and this worked as a wonder antidote,” he said.

Interestingly, Dr Javed is neither a cleric nor a faith-healer. He has a distinguished record as a medical practitioner as his visiting card shows -- MBBS, FCPS (Pakistan), FCCS (USA) and FDM (USA). Currently, he is the head of the Services Hospital’s ICU and a consultant physician and intensivist.

After staying in the ICU for three weeks, Hafiz Abbas is no more on medication and is leading a normal life. He listens to Surah Al-Rehman three times a day, as advised by his doctor.

Dr Javed not only prescribes this ‘surah’ to his patients and trainee doctors who work with him at the ward, he wants all medical practitioners to follow the divine antidote. He plays the recitation of the ‘surah’ on a cassette player in the ward three times a day, which he calls doses that strengthen the willpower of patients.

According to him several patients of epilepsy, brain haemorrhage and organ failures have shown unbelievable recovery because of the ‘surah’.

“I really don’t know how listening to these golden words works in the recovery of patients but my results say that this chapter of the Holy Quran not only works but works wonders,” he says. He tries to make his point through data of patients he has treated in the hospital.

During his four-year stint at the ICU of the Services Hospital, he has treated 96 cases of wheat pill cases and 75 of them survived the poison.

According to the data available on the Internet, the mortality rate of those consuming aluminium phosphide (what a wheat pill contains) in European and American hospitals is 90 to 100 per cent.

Dr Javed conducted research in 10 public and as many private hospitals of the city on mortalities due to the pill which is available over the counter in every street store in the country. He distributed a questionnaire among specialists and non-specialist doctors. Up to 90 per cent of the doctors said they had encountered more than 10 wheat pill patients in their service. The usual outcome or prognosis, 90 per cent of the respondents say, was that more than 90 per cent of the patients died.

The research also highlighted some startling facts: most of the doctors are unaware of the composition of the wheat pills. “When they don’t know what a pill contains, the treatment they provide to the patient multiplies risk of death,” he says.

Aluminium phosphide on contact with water releases PH3 (Phosphine gas) destroys the mitochondria of heart, liver and pancreas. In most cases, those who take wheat pills suffer a fatal cardiac arrest.

In case of stomach wash (through water), a person who has taken wheat pills cannot survive and this is the mistake the doctors commit in hospitals.

Dr Javed wants the government to establish a helpline and a monitoring cell on toxicology to provide immediate help to poison victims.

Many in Pakistan, who suffer from depression, high-level stress and anxiety because of multiple reasons, find wheat pills an easy escape from harsh realities and need such cell, he says.

He maintains that in most cases the families come to know about the poison consumption quite late. Then they try to give water to the victim, which leads to instant death. The common symptoms are vomiting, irritability, confusion, hypotension, metabolic acidosis and hypoxia.

Dr Javed says the families should immediately shift the patient to some hospital where doctors should first ascertain the nature of poison.

The supporting treatment like washing the stomach and kidneys should be done with palm oil. He says Pakistani medicine students should need to improve their knowledge of toxicology. He also invites biologists, bio-cell engineers and faith-healers to find the missing links between the recitation of the Holy Quran and brain cells of the human. “The ICU is open to all researchers. I play the recitation three times a day and get good results,” he says.

Agha Irfan Khan, a staunch supporter of spiritual treatment, shared his experiences with Dawn, saying many patients get cured through ‘ayaat-i-shifaa’ and ‘Sura Al-Rehman’ even when the medical science fails to find an answer.

He said a majority of people didn’t readily believe in faith-healing but “many such courses are prescribed by the Quran and the Sunnah”.

“What is good about the system is that it doesn’t keep a patient away from routine medication. It rather helps medicines prove more effective,” he said.

The advancement in medicine was no doubt a significant achievement but it should not undermine the spiritual aspect, he stressed.