Poet Ahmad Faraz is breathing on his own without mechanical assistance, his physicians told Dawn on Thursday, contradicting earlier reports that he had died.
“He is not 100 per cent well,” said Dr Murtaza Arain who leads a team of eight physicians looking after the poet.
“He is not on a ventilator and not on a cardiac assistance device. He is breathing on his own.”
Another member of the team, Dr Tahir Rohail, urged Faraz’s well-wishers to pray for him because “his condition is not very promising.”
Faraz was brought to the Adventist Hinsdale Hospital near Chicago about 10 days ago with multiple health problems.
Faraz came to Washington late last month to attend the annual convention of Pakistani physicians in North America and fell during a visit to the Canadian Embassy, injuring his forehead, knees and shoulders. He was taken to a hospital in Baltimore but discharged after a summary examination.
After the initial treatment, Faraz flew to Chicago where his pain worsened and he felt extremely unwell. His host, Dr Khawaja Nasim, referred him to Dr Arain, who is director of the trauma services at Hinsdale.
A team of Pakistani doctors examined Faraz again and were alarmed to find an infection in the soft tissue of his knee, which had given him a high fever. His blood pressure was unacceptably high and his kidneys were malfunctioning.
“Poets are not always very careful about their health,” said Dr Rohail, who is also a close friend of Fraz’s son Shibli Faraz who was with the poet at the hospital.
“So he was not very healthy otherwise and the injuries further worsened his condition.”
Dr Rohail said that Faraz’s kidney and respiratory problems had exacerbated and his chronic illnesses were catching up with him. “Halaat ahchchay naheen hain (his condition is not good).”
Dr Arain said that Faraz also had a high-blood pressure even before the fall and received dialysis to improve his kidney function.
When Dr Arain saw him on July 7, Faraz appeared “confused and disoriented.”
He has improved since then but “any one of his chronic illnesses could become a major problem,” the doctor said.
Dr Arain said that it was “an honour for Pakistani physicians to treat Faraz … we are not giving up, we are working hard and need everybody’s prayers.”
Update: News reports and his family attest that he is still alive but struggling. Please keep him in your prayers. [09:34 Pacific Time.]: