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Source: Karttikeya Mangalam/Facebook

Heroic Student Saves Passenger's Life Mid-Flight Using His Skills As An Engineer

By Dennis Matthew Livesey

For the majority of us, 90 percent of what we learn in school gets forgotten immediately after graduation, but for one IIT student his freshman year engineering classes helped him save a life. 

Karttikeya Mangalam, an undergrad at the Indian Institue of Technology, was making his way back to New Delhi after a semester abroad when a passenger on his flight had a medical emergency. 

The passenger was a diabetic who had lost their insulin pump after having removed it for airport security, fortunately there was a doctor on the plane who carried an insulin pen of his own. But an hour later, the passenger's condition had worsened.

According to the doctor, the slow release insulin he had administered wouldn't save him in time, but the fast-acting insulin cartridges the passenger carried wouldn't fit in the insulin pen. Unless the two parts could work together, the passenger would likely die. 


Remembering a freshman year engineering course, Mangalam quickly looked up the insulin pen manual using the plane's wifi. The diagram showed that a spring was missing from the pen, preventing the needle from working. 

After asking the other passengers Mangalam found exactly what he needed in a regular ball point pen. With the new spring in place the insulin pen was working again, and Mangalam's fast thinking had saved a life.