Joel in the lap of his mother, who did not wish to be photographed, at Rashid Hospital. Joel was rushed there last month after developing severe complications Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Xpress

Dubai: An Indian couple has been grappling with the trauma of getting their premature baby treated for grave cerebral and eyesight problems for the past eight months.

A distraught Sheeja Rajan Thomas from Kerala told XPRESS that her son Joel, born at 25 weeks, had been in and out of four Dubai hospitals with at least six surgeries being conducted upon him.

But even as the treatment continues, she said she had lost her job as a staff nurse in one of the hospitals. Her husband, who gave up his job in India to be with her, was on a visit visa looking for employment but had to return empty-handed on June 8 as his visa expired, she added.

Thomas said her ordeal began when she prematurely delivered Joel on October 12, 2009 at Iranian Hospital. Three days later, the boy was shifted to Dubai Hospital where he remained for the next five months and was operated to drain out cerebrospinal fluid that had collected in his brain.

Unending agony

A separate surgery was done to deal with a retinal detachment as Joel was blind in the right eye and had blurred vision in the left.

Subsequently, he was referred to Al Wasl Hospital where he was admitted on April 19 for a hernia operation in the groin area. He was discharged soon after, only to be readmitted with an infection.

Discharged 10 days later, Joel was recovering at home when he came down with another emergency on May 25 and was rushed to Rashid Hospital where two procedures were conducted to fix the persisting fluid problem.

Thomas, who is still in hospital with the boy, is in a desperate situation as her residence visa has expired.

The NGO Valley of Love, which has stepped in to locate a hospital in Kerala where Joel can be shifted, said his mother has no funds for the treatment of the child. She can do with any help that she can get, a spokesperson said.

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