A Pickerington cardiologist was killed while on humanitarian mission in Pakistan.
Militant extremists gunned down Dr. Mehdi Qamar because of his religious beliefs. Qamar was a member of the Ahmadi sect of Islam.
Gary Burton is one of Dr. Qamar’s patients; he said he is able to exercise today, only because he got a second chance at life.
The 56-year-old said two years ago, he came to Fairfield Medical Center because he wasn't feeling well.
An EKG revealed he was having a massive heart attack.
“If he wouldn't have been there that day, when I had my heart attack, I wouldn't be around.” Burton said.
Burton said Dr. Mehdi Qamar performed a cardiac catheterization and later assisted in quadruple bypass surgery. On Monday, Burton got the news that the doctor who saved his life, lost his.
Burton said, “I was devastated. Two years ago that man saved my life, and two years later he is getting gunned down at point-blank range.”
Dr. Qamar was in Pakistan's Punjab province on a medical mission.
He was visiting a family member's gravesite when he was gunned down.
Reports indicate his wife and youngest son were with him and witnessed the attack.
Colleagues at Fairfield Medical Center are already paying tribute to the doctor. A memorial now hangs in the lab where he worked.
Fairfield Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Steven Cox, said, “It’s been really somber and no one really knows what to say when a member of your staff was killed like that so suddenly and senselessly.”
Dr. Cox said the loss of such a skilled professional will leave a void at the hospital.
Memorial services haven't been finalized, but hospital administrators say they are planning a service for staff.
They are also looking into starting a humanitarian award in Dr. Qamar's name.