UAE: Paramedic nurse, ambulance driver carry water, dates to break fast on the go

Meet the emergency nurse and ambulance driver who always carry a water bottle and dates so that they can break their fast while on the move


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 27 Mar 2023, 8:05 AM

Last updated: Mon 27 Mar 2023, 3:43 PM

Be it a regular day or the holy month of Ramadan, duty always comes first for the paramedic staff.

Whether it’s time to begin the fast or end the fast, Elsayed Saber, a paramedic and emergency nurse, and Muhamed Sidhique, an ambulance driver, are usually on the move and never say no to a patient.

Considering the nature of their job, the duty towards the Almighty and people always go hand-in-hand. They always carry a water bottle and a few dates so when the emergency calls come, they will be on the move forthwith.

The duo – Saber and Sidhique – work for the Thumbay University Hospital, Ajman.

“Our job is round-the-clock. Although my duty is from 7 am to 7 pm, there’s nothing more powerful than helping a sick person and we never say ‘no’ to a patient. Be it 2 am or at sunset, I am more than happy to volunteer for patients. What we do is, we carry a bottle of water and dates with us, and if it’s time to break the fast, I usually do it on-the-go if I have to attend to a patient. Once the patient is given first aid and brought to the hospital, I have a proper meal,” Sidhique, an Indian national, told Khaleej Times.

As a healthcare practitioner in an emergency, Saber, an Egyptian citizen, tries to practice the virtues of Ramadan which is sacrifice and being kinder to people who need them. “Since it’s my first Ramadan in UAE, I enjoy the spiritual vibe of UAE, which is very similar to Egypt. It feels like a home away from home.”

For Saber and Sidhique, their work in emergencies usually spills beyond their stipulated time for Iftar.

Sidhique, who works from 7 am to 7 pm, also breaks the fast while being on duty. “I carry a bottle of water and dates, and as soon as the sunset prayers are called out, I break the fast, and continue with my work. If I am not attending to an emergency, but still at work, I break the fast with my colleagues. I like cooking food, so I usually prepare Suhoor and Iftar with special Indian dishes, which we all share,” he said.

Emergency call while breaking the fast

For Muhamed Sidhique, the passion for work never really slacks whether he’s full-stomach or not. “I would first attend to the emergency of the sick person as this is my responsibility. Once the patient is brought to the hospital and taken care of by the hospital staff, I go and have a meal.”

Treating the emergency patient is not different either for Elsayed Saber.

“Emergency cases don’t decline during Ramadan. I first attend to their needs, and then catch up on meals and prayer.”

There were instances when Muhamed Sidhique had to rush while breaking fast to shift the patient to the hospital

Narrating an incident, he said: “Recently, an elderly Emirati patient suffered from an extreme backache and he called for an emergency ambulance. When we reached his home, the Azaan (call for prayer) started. He and his family invited us to first join them in breaking the fast and we shared the meal. Later we got him to the hospital.”

‘Miss my family'

Muhamed Sidhique, who hails from Kerala, has not been able to have Iftar and Suhoor with his wife, two kids, mother and sister for many years.

“Most of my Ramadan has always been away from the family. My colleagues are my family. At times, we prepare special dishes and share our meals.”

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

“Yes, I miss my wife and two kids who are back home. I break the fast often either on duty or in the staff accommodation with my colleagues and friends - who have also become my extended family here. We enjoy the local foods and plenty of multi-cultural cuisines that are available here in Iftar,” Saber concluded.


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