Dubai: A former driver has said an unexplained health condition has left him bedridden and jobless in Dubai.
Zaheer Minhas, 52-year-old Pakistani, said his legs have no strength left and his arms are failing.
He was laid off in August 2011 for being “no longer physically able” for his heavy duty driver’s job at an airline catering company, his termination letter shows.
Medical records say he has multiple nerves malfunction but “unfortunately no apparent cause could be found”.
Minhas said his legs started to weaken after taking cholesterol medicine prescribed simvastatin by his company doctor early last year.
Muscle damage is a known but infrequent side effect of the statins drugs group that Simvastatin is part of.
However, his records indicate a complication related to nerves rather than muscles.
A doctor said: “It appears to be an isolated case for which the cause is unknown. If the nerves are affected, the muscles can be affected. However, there are no conclusive medical studies, as far as I know, about the correlation of such medication to neuropathy. Simvastatin’s common and safe like aspirin is.”
Minhas said he was referred to a Dubai hospital by the company but no cause of his complication was found. Self-paid check ups at a second hospital and clinic were also inconclusive, he added.
Minhas says he has no money for further tests like muscle and nerve biopsies and MRI brain scans, having spent around Dh70,000 in medical costs so far.
“My employment letter said I would get free medical treatment by a company doctor including medicine. Is this the ‘treatment’ they gave me? I think they let me go when they realised I would cost them more money,” he said.
“They didn’t let me go on leave to Pakistan in July 2011 so I could find a solution, as costs are cheaper there.
“Now I’m stranded, my visa has expired and I’m broke. My passport is with the company as they want me to cancel my wife and children’s visas first.
“But how can I do that? We’re barely surviving because my daughter brings home Dh2,500 a month.
“My wife is Indian and can’t settle in Pakistan, and I can’t settle in India as I’m Pakistani. I need my wife besides me all the time, even when I go to the bathroom. There’s nobody else to look after me.
“If I get thoroughly tested and treated properly, I could recover and work again. I don’t want to be a burden on anyone,” Minhas added, failing to wipe tears as he couldn’t lift his arms high enough.
Minhas said he moved to the UAE in 1973 and has a licence to drive five categories of vehicles.
“If someone helps my get a full diagnosis, I can then get treated accordingly. I want to work, I can’t bear being bedridden. I’m not dead, but I don’t feel alive.”