A Gem in the Wilderness

Muslim Matters

A Gem in the Wilderness

A  Unique Medical Facility 0f International level – The Army Cardiac Center  Lahore  Cantt.

By Alhaj Dr. Major Muhammad Aslam


Here is a true picture of my stay in this center, and this narration is from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, and has got to be accurate down to the hilt, and should be considered fairly authentic, as it comes from an experienced specialist, a doctor who was commissioned in the British Indian Army as a doctor in 1943, and has been to over twenty countries and has had the chance to see many hospitals of advanced countries.

Here is a review of a medical setup, which is the best in Pakistan and one of the best among similar organizations of the world, on the international level–easily one of the best, and comparable to international cardiac centers. It is among the best as measured by the educational level of the cardiac surgeons, cardiac physicians, and their experience.

The same applies to the standard of equipment, which is mostly imported, including two modular operation theatres, and extremely modern Cath Labs from Germany. All the seventy five beds have bed head panels with central oxygen, central suction, and monitoring. This all is linked with the nursing desk for round-the-clock monitoring. The center has matching standards of nursing care, sanitation, quality of food, and services of lower staff.

It is said that seeing is believing, and that the proof of the pudding lies in the tasting. Therefore your author had to be a patient himself so that he could see the facility for himself. 

So, one day my heart said “Look old man I have served you now for over ninety three years. All your companions and friends have long been called back by the God. I too want to call it a day. Enough is enough. I am leaving you.” In other words, I had a serious heart attack, with cardiac arrest. I was shifted immediately to the Army cardiac center Lahore Cantt. I was unconscious for two days, and was on  a ventilator. Now I was under the care of a highly qualified and proficient team.

This team is commanded by a highly qualified and experienced doctor, Brigadier Afsar  Raza  FCPS Medicine, FCPS Cardiology, CCST Cardiology,  MRCP (UK), FRCP (Glasgow), Director Cath Lab and Interventions, Fellow in Coronary Intervention. St. Thomas Hospital London, a prestigious hospital of the UK.

I was in the center for ten days, including the two days unconscious under ventilator support. Hardly ten to fifteen percent of ventilator cases get to see the light of day, much less the doors of their homes–the vast majority go up to heaven through the ventilator. However, I was in the cardiac center under treatment for ten days and I was fortunate to return home, fully recovered, hale and hearty by the grace of God. I was discharged with all faculties intact and fully functioning, as if I had never gone sick, a very rare thing to happen to a person who has been unconscious for two days and has been on a ventilator. I am writing and typing this narration myself on a computer, within ten days of my discharge from the said center.

When I went to see the Deputy Commandant of the Center, to thank them for the care I received during my stay, the gracious lady in there said as I approached, “here comes a Miracle.”

This center is basically for services personal, but there is some provision for the treatment of civilians also. This being basically an army facility, the civilian public in general does not know much about the existence of such a magnificent medical facility.  In a country where these days nothing goes right, unfortunately, our having a medical facility of such a high international standard is a miracle, hence I have called  it  “A Gem in Wilderness.”

The narration will be incomplete if I do not mention the cause of such an efficiently managed center. It is mostly due to proficient management by its charismatic Deputy Commandant, Colonel  Nigar Gohar, whose name embodies the caption of the article, under the unique guidance of Brigadier Afsar Raza, and patronage of Corps Commander.

Here are details to justify my statement.

The center is located in an impressive building with a sandstone façade. It is a masterpiece of architecture, and houses one of the most modern, well-equipped and advanced cardiac centers of the country, with state of the art diagnostic, therapeutic and operative facilities.

With the inauguration of this center, cardiac patients now feel a sense of relief as most cardiac ailments can be managed locally, as all tests such as ECG, Chest X-Rays, and Laboratory tests are done under one roof. It would also serve to vastly improve the learning and teaching facilities, to the Army Medical College next door. It is fully equipped to manage all types of indoor and outdoor cardiac cases and emergencies.

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Here are the details:

Emergency  Reception

This is the place where patients with cardiac ailments report first. The reception is managed by experienced staff specially trained to provide first aid medical and resuscitation treatment to the patients.

Cath Lab

The cath lab is a digital lab with all facilities for carrying out all interventional cardiology procedures including, angiography, intra-vascular and intra-coronary stenting using both the arm and the leg approach. Temporary and permanent cardiac pacing using the most sophisticated techniques are also performed by the cardiac team of the center.

CCU (Coronary Care Unit)

Each bed of the Coronary Care Unit of this center is separately equipped with monitoring and pacing facilities.  Each patient’s monitoring on the bedside is also linked with a central monitoring system provided at the nursing station.

Operation theaters

The two operation theaters of this center are specially designed and are state-of-the-art modular operation theatres imported from Germany, and this is unique, the only one of its kind, in Pakistan. It is designed to cater to all aspects of cardiac surgical procedures. It is equipped with a laminar airflow system and separate air conditioning, for both the theatres, thus creating a totally infection free environment. The Central Sterilization Supply Department is equipped with the most modern and automatic equipment to provide the sterile supply of Operation Theatre, ICU, CCU, and  other wards of the center.

Both open and closed cardiac surgical procedures can be carried out with precision using the latest equipment including ‘Starfish’ and Octopus devices for beating heart surgery. Replacement of heart valves and Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery are done routinely by the experienced cardiac surgeons.

ICU (Intensive Care Unit)

This is the place where critically ill patients are kept and shifted immediately after heart surgery. The intensive care unit of the cardiac center is a state-of-the-art department equipped with the most modern monitoring facility including the latest ventilators and an intra-aortic balloon pump to provide the best post operative care to the patients.

Allied Facilities

Holter monitoring, thalium scans, and facilities for CT angiography are also installed and available, which greatly adds to the diagnostic facilities of the center, for its smooth working.

Uninterrupted  Electric  Supply

In a specialized center where all sorts of cardiac emergencies, open heart surgeries and cardiac catheterization procedures are going on simultaneously, even a second’s interruption of electric supply can be catastrophic. To ensure smooth uninterrupted supply of electricity, a double feeder electric supply has been installed. To over ensure electric supply in rare situation of massive power breakdown, a powerful generator, having 640 KV capacities has additionally been installed.

Waiting Area

The Cardiac Centre has large waiting area on the ground floor, in the middle of outdoor patient’s departments. The area is centrally air-conditioned and has been designed to keep the patients comfortable during waiting period. It can accommodate over one hundred patients waiting for their turn.


Closed circuit television system with terminal cameras at all departments and security points inside the centre, have been installed for round the clock central monitoring needed for security purposes and to cater for any unforeseen eventuality. Moreover smoke detectors have been fixed to ceiling at multiple places to detect smoke and raise smoke alarm in case of fire. PA(Audio) System has been installed in all floors of the centre for easy location of doctors, patients and for any announcement that may have to be made in a particular situation.


Simply being in Cardiac Centre as a doctor, a patient, or attendant creates an environment full of psychological stress, from which relaxation is often required.  Beautiful cafeteria has been provided centrally at the ground floor for easy access to everyone including indoor and outdoor patients, doctors and attendants.

Video Conference and internet facilities

In the present day world of rapid scientific progress, medical knowledge doubles every five years.  The Centre has therefore provided video conferencing and internet facilities for the consultants. This will help maintain active professional interaction between the doctors working in this Cardiac Centre with the reputed cardiologists and cardiac surgeons of other reputed centers of excellence worldwide.

In the end I wish all the readers of this article good luck. Further I wish that, they do not have to be patients to verify the minutest details, by getting sick by them. All this effort is to make sure that our civil population knows the presence of such a high degree medical facility under there very nose and they could benefit God forbid when ever they need such services. Whenever I recall my experience in the centre as a patient, I wish that people at large should know existence of such a Gem with in their reach.
Alhaj Dr. Major Muhammad Aslam  (Retired but NOT Tired)
A computer literate young man of only Ninety Three years


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