Engineering Student From IIT Saved A Man’s Life With Basic Engineering Acumen

Engineering Studentvia

It’s not the doctor always who saves people. These days every patient behaves as a doctor. Whenever I go to grocery shop, I see many people advising others to take that tablet and this tablet etc. I say its experience. Sometimes patients turn to be a doctor for other patients.

In this scenario, even though the doctor who himself is a patient couldn’t save a man life. But an engineering student with his presence of mind saved a man’s life during the medical emergency.

The 21-year-old, Karttikeya Mangalam was flying to New Delhi from Geneva via Moscow in February. He realized a man seated two rows behind him needed medical help.

According to the student, the passenger suffered from Type 1 diabetes and had forgotten his insulin pump at the security check counter at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. His blood sugar had risen to a dangerous level as it had been over five hours since he had taken his last insulin dose.

A doctor on the same flight, also a diabetes patient, had multiple injecting equipment at hand but Thomas’ insulin cartridges were thinner than the insulin pen’s diameter. The doctor said Thomas needed urgent help or he would face the possibility of multiple organ failures or slip into a coma.

The crew announced that the plane would be making an emergency landing in the Afghanistan-Kazakhstan region because Thomas had lost consciousness and was foaming at the mouth.


Even An Engineer Can Save Lives

Karttikeya Mangalam, a final year BTech student studying electrical engineering in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, recollected the incident in an article for IIT-Kanpur’s in-house magazine.

When Karttikeya went to the patient’s seat and saw the doctor struggling to adjust the man’s insulin cartridge into his pen, the plane was already planning to make an emergency landing. This is when the engineering student decided to see if he could provide a temporary fix.

“I requested the air hostess to let me access the premium Wi-Fi available in the plane to check on the pen’s manual online, to which she reluctantly agreed. I looked up the manual and found a large engineering drawing style diagram showing how every part fits with each other.”

And soon realized what was missing.


“I realized that somehow there were only 12 parts in it now while the diagram clearly showed 13 different parts. On cross-checking, I realized that it was missing a spring that coiled before the cartridge and was essential to transfer the push motion from the back to the needle in front.”

He then instructed the air hostess to ask the passengers for ballpoint pens as they had spring in them.

He found the perfect match after trying a few springs and gave it back to the doctor. The doctor adjusted the dose, changed the needle and injected the proper dosage of Thomas’ own insulin. The patient blood sugar levels stopped rising and then started coming down.


When the flight finally landed in Delhi, the passenger was taken to Gurgaon’s Medanta hospital. The passenger thanked and even invited him to Amsterdam with a promise of free beer at his restaurant.

Hats off to your presence of mind Karttikeya.

Everyone can save others life when it is at risk.  What is needed is, willingness to help and the presence of mind combined with knowledge. What do you say? Share us in the comments. There are still some people in this world who are always ready to help others. Here is another incident.

Pavani Bharathula
I am Pavani, stands for highly deterministic, self-motivator, highly individual, independent and bold person; like to inspire and motivate people through my writings and speeches.