Desperate. Indian cabbie Elias Koilparambil George undergoing treatment at the Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: An Indian taxi driver currently on life support in Abu Dhabi is unable to fly home as his family cannot afford an air ambulance.

Elias Koilparambil George, 42, from the Indian state of Kerala, has been on a ventilator at the capital’s Cleveland Clinic following a stroke in July.

His brother Austine Bruce said the family wants to fly George to his home country for further medical treatment but have been told by doctors that he cannot travel without an air ambulance.

High costs

“It costs around Dh200,000 to hire an air ambulance. We don’t have that kind of money, so my brother is stuck,” said Bruce, who works for an interior designing company in Mussafah.

George who has been working for a taxi company for the last two years had just returned to Abu Dhabi from a holiday in Kerala when he suffered a stroke.

“He called me from Baniyas saying he was not feeling well. When I went to see him, he looked pale. I took him to Ahalia Hospital in Mussafah; from there he was moved to Cleveland. The doctors said he has had a massive stroke,” Bruce recalled.

George is the sole breadwinner of his family comprising his wife Mary Anju and two children, aged four and 11. Anju was on a brief visit to Abu Dhabi to see her ailing husband but returned last week.

Bruce said the family is desperate and has sought help from the Indian embassy and social welfare organisations in Abu Dhabi.

George’s father K.E. Philodas has also written to the Ministry of External Affairs in India and political leaders in the country seeking financial assistance.

“My brother needs long-term treatment and care which is not possible in the UAE as he doesn’t have any support system here. We want to take him to Kerala where he can be looked after by the family,” said Bruce. He also claimed they have got permission from the naval base in Kochi to land the air ambulance.

“But first we need funds to hire one. We are counting on the generosity of people here,” said Bruce.