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Mid-air illness diverts flight

A Qatar Airways flight made a priority landing in Calcutta on Friday morning after a passenger fell ill mid-air.

Al Solami Meadi Medkhill, a 53-year-old Saudi Arabian who was travelling from Singapore to Doha via Bangkok, is admitted to a private hospital in Salt Lake. Doctors said a fragment of a kidney stone had entered his urethra, causing pain.

The flight, with 220 passengers on board, took off from Bangkok around 8.30am (IST), said an official of Calcutta airport. More than an hour later, Medkhill complained of pain in his lower abdomen. Soon after, he started groaning.

“There was no doctor on the flight. The crew members informed the pilot about Medkhill’s condition,” said an airport official.

The pilot decided to divert the flight to Calcutta, which was the nearest airport. He contacted the airport’s air traffic control and was permitted to make a priority landing.

An ambulance brought Medkhill to the international terminal building, where doctors attended to him. “A painkiller was injected and doctors referred him to a private hospital off EM Bypass,” added the official.

However, as soon as his pain subsided, Medkhill refused to go to the hospital and wanted to board the flight. While he was sitting in the airport’s medical room, the pain returned. Medkhill was sent to AMRI Hospitals in Salt Lake.

His condition is stable, said Dibakar Ghosh, an urologist at the hospital.

“Unless the stone is removed, the pain will return. But Medkhill does not want to be treated here. He has spoken to the Saudi embassy in Delhi. We are discharging him on a risk bond,” said a hospital official.

The Qatar flight took off without Medkhill around 3.30pm.

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