This is the story of Dr. Anum Najam, the first quadriplegic physician of Pakistan and how she overcame the most challenging of odds to serve her country and people in their hour of need.
Her story can serve as a beacon of hope for the numerous physically disabled persons in Pakistan aiming to make something out of their life.
An Incident That Changed Her Life
It all started back in March 2008 when Ms. Anum was returning to Muzaffarabad with her family after attending a wedding in Rawalpindi.
They were travelling during midnight and the roads were deserted. Out of nowhere a group of armed robbers fired at their car to stop them.
Doctor Anam Najam
Unfortunately one of the bullets penetrated Dr. Anum’s neck and stopped midway. This led to a spinal cord injury that paralyzed her full body from below the neck.
The incident left her near-paralyzed, a condition is known in medical circles as Quadripegia.
The Nightmare Becomes Real
Dr. Anum was a 3rd year MBBS student when the incident took place. The medical treatments she had to undergo because of her injuries did little to improve her condition.
After realizing the implications of this incurable condition, I decided not to let my physical limitations defeat me in achieving the goals that I had set for my life. I vividly remember the time when I tried to study my Pharmacology book while lying down in hospital bed just a few days after my injury.
It all sounds like a nightmare. Just imagine being in a position where all you can do is look around, not being able to move around by yourself or even do basic tasks like drinking from a glass of water.
But Anum wasn’t ready to give up yet.
The Struggle to Recovery
She was discharged after 5 weeks from the hospital. At that time she did not have grip in her hands at all. A caretaker was needed for every single thing like eating, bathing, dressing etc.
It was a very hard time for her and her family but Dr. Anum credits her belief in God which gave them the courage to pull through.
After recovering from her injury, she resumed her studies and she remembers how she had to go in a reclined wheelchair to college. Opening a book or even turning the pages was an impossible task for her. Friends and family helped her with that.
Dr. Anum successfully completed her MBBS without wasting a single year. She continued studying and completed her specialization in Psychiatry. She is now the first Quadriplegic Psychiatrist in Pakistan.
She convenes her message to everyone, disabled or not, by summing up her experience:
Stop waiting for a miracle and start striving! A hard battle is not an excuse to quit.
Her story recently went viral on social media. Here it is reproduced in its entirety: