Omar Chughtai

Omar Chughtai

An avid reader of blogs who works as Lab Director at Chughtais Lahore Lab. Omar tweets @OmarChughtai.

Breast cancer: Pakistan’s most common cancer

It was the summer of 1999, when a bunch of us, final year medical students, were attending to patients in the crowded outpatient department at the Mayo Hospital in Lahore. Our professor had called us to come see a patient in one of the consultation rooms. The patient was a young woman, no more than 35 years of age. She had come to the hospital with a large breast mass. She said that she had first felt the mass more than a year ago. After ignoring it for months, she had finally mustered the courage to talk to her husband about it. ...

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Well-done Government of Punjab, Dengue is in check!

There is a low level outbreak of dengue fever in Lahore and its outskirts. Over the last few weeks more than a hundred patients have tested positive for the dengue virus. Every day the media gives the public an updated count of how many patients have been diagnosed with dengue fever. Sometimes the media is so dutiful in its obligation to inform, that the reports include the names of the suspected dengue patients as well! Every patient is important. Even one case of dengue fever is one too many. Having said as much, if we look at the size of the ...

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The leader in all of us

June 4, 1947, Lahore The air was filled with joy. As he walked through the crowded streets of the walled city, Ahmed could see the excitement on people’s faces. His heart raced with joy at what had been achieved. The viceroy had just finished his speech on the radio. India was to be divided; Pakistan would no longer be a dream! The moment of triumph was bitter-sweet. Mixed with the joy of Pakistan’s creation was the sad memory of those who had laid their lives to make this moment possible, freedom had not been cheap. Lost in his thoughts, Ahmed was startled by gunshots ...

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Dengue patient: Did we need to know the name?

If you were watching the news a few days ago, you probably saw that a patient in Lahore was diagnosed with dengue fever. I wish that is all you knew. Unfortunately the media went out of its way to tell you the ethnicity, travel history, local address and even the name of the patient! Patients have a fundamental right to privacy. They have a right to seek medical attention without running the risk of making their most personal issues public. In the case of some infectious diseases, the individual’s right to privacy is partially offset by the public’s right to safety. Certain disease ...

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For my nano

It has been a while now since my grandmother passed away, and I can’t stop thinking about her. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that she is gone.  My Nano lived a content life. She saw good times and bad times; got married really young, and saw her husband go off to a war just a few days after the wedding. She witnessed the creation of Pakistan and lived through the last minute inclusion of Gurdaspur in India, and the sudden helplessness that followed it as her husband’s family migrated to Lahore. My grandfather was an ...

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Your child needs surgery – come back in 2016

Here’s something interesting that happened a few days ago. I was going about my routine afternoon work when I was interrupted by a lady who walked into my office with a cute four-year-old boy by her side. The lady introduced herself as the daughter of a maid who used to work at our house a long time ago. As she spoke I could not help but notice the little boy, Rehman was his name, as he had already started fiddling with a pen that had been sitting on my desk. As my attention shifted back to the mother, she handed me ...

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Pakistan’s got AIDS patients

Acquired Immune Deficiency System (Aids) is taboo in Pakistan. Every time the topic comes up, the general attitude is one of denial with people saying that Aids does not exist in Pakistan. How could it? This is an Islamic country, and the ‘illegal, immoral’ activities generally associated with HIV/Aids are just not a part of our social fabric. According to the National Aids Control Program, about 100,000 Pakistanis are living with Aids. This number is most likely an underestimate as most patients with HIV don’t even know they are infected. One is compelled to wonder where all these cases are coming from. Like ...

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Let’s talk about breast cancer

I saw a patient yesterday. She was a 40-year-old mother of three, her youngest daughter only six. The patient had gone to a general surgeon because of a breast mass and she had been referred to me for diagnostic work up. The lady told me that she’d had the mass for over a year. I asked her why she hadn’t seen a doctor earlier, and she said that she hadn’t wanted to draw attention to herself. The family had limited resources and she did not wanted to become an additional burden. My patient had cancer. I suspected as much the moment I saw ...

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The problem with a Rs90 dengue test

There is a major dengue fever outbreak in the city of Lahore. Several thousand patients have been documented, and many more have gone undiagnosed. In addition, there is a general sense of paranoia, and people are very scared of the illness. One of the important aspects in the care of dengue fever patients is the establishment of the diagnosis. Since a large number of patients are poor and cannot afford treatment, it is important to make arrangements to make these diagnostic facilities accessible to all. However, it must also be ensured that the diagnostic facilities and resources are not wasted. One ...

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Beware: Dengue strikes again

Ten months ago dengue fever hit our cities. The outbreak was unprecedented in severity. In the blink of an eye there were hundreds of cases all over Lahore. Doctors and hospitals were caught completely off guard. Many doctors, including myself, were unfamiliar with dengue fever and how to manage it. As the ranks of patients swelled, the capacity of hospitals to care for them was quickly overwhelmed. Though no one will admit to it today, many hospitals in Lahore stopped accepting patients because they simply did not have the capability to take care of any more. Last year, desperate for platelet ...

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