Sharjah: Police found an Indian man collapsed on a sandy roadside on August 7 after he was seen wandering in the area.
Down and out and seriously ill, Vijay Pala Rao had no belongings save the clothes on his back and a beat-up wallet containing a few scraps of paper, including an old visit visa marking his entry into the UAE in 2014.
Worried for his well-being, the police whisked the ailing Rao to Al Qassimi Hospital to be examined by doctors, who soon discovered a large congenital abnormality of his blood vessels that had ruptured leading to a massive blood clot in the brain.
Vijay Pala Rao, 41, was treated for a blood clot at Al Qasimi Hospital. The haematoma on the left side of the brain damaged his speech centres. Aghaddir Ali/Gulf News
Rao, 41, was immediately admitted for emergency surgery to remove the clot and save his life.
Dr Satish Krishnan, senior neurological surgeon at Al Qassimi Hospital, carried out the surgery and later played a key role in finding Rao’s family.
The haematoma being on the left side damaged his speech centres, Krishnan said, which became apparent when Rao recovered and awoke but had lost his speech and had memory problems.
Hospital staff tried speaking to him in English, Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Urdu, Kannada, Marathi and Bengali — the combined language skills of the Neurosurgery team, but all attempts were in vain.
Krishnan said that “Rao’s speech gradually improved and he started talking in Telugu. We got a Telugu-speaking nurse to try and help us, but she said his speech was garbled and didn’t make any sense”.
“Luckily for us, we got hold of his passport from the police who originally brought him to the hospital. From the police we brought together the fact he had arrived in UAE four years ago on a visit visa. He was always talking. We deduced that he was expressing his desire to go back to his family. So we tried to help Rao in this endeavour,” Krishnan said.
Krishnan said the next step was to contact the Indian Embassy.
They helped in getting him an outpass from UAE immigration and agreed to repatriate him to Hyderabad, based on his passport that was issued from Vijayawada.
“We were not going to let him be left alone in Hyderabad," the doctor said, adding: "We wanted to reunite him with his family. But the challenge was to find his family. We searched in his wallet and got lots of small papers with a number of telephone numbers."
"I tried calling all of them [numbers]. Few were numbers of people in UAE who didn’t recognise Rao. Similar was the story on talking to a couple in Karnataka. We were again at a dead end.
"At this point, I sent his picture and all those numbers and passport details to Ekta, a social organisation which got his story published in a newspaper in his hometown,” Dr Satish Krishnan said.
A man from his hometown recognised him and contacted police who in turn contacted Rao’s brother.
“So now Rao has a place to go back to,” Krishnan said.
“We will be able to reunite Rao with his family. That is a greater source of happiness than of doing an emergency surgery to save a life. We should thank God for this miracle,” Krishnan added.
His brother and employee of Ekta visited Rao in the hospital on Friday and they are expected to travel soon.
An even happier ending for Rao happened when he was told the hospital has waived the Dh80,000 medical bill.