Sabine, husband Roland Kotter and Dr Rohit Kumar after the surgery at the hospital in Dubai. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: A 56-year-old German tourist with terminal pancreatic cancer, who slipped into a coma during a visit to Dubai, was resuscitated by doctors at the Medeor Hospital under exceptional circumstances as she was carrying a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) request.

The woman flew back home on Sunday night to be reunited with her three sons.

Sabine Kotter, who hails from Osnabruck near Hamburg in North West Germany, was on an Indian Ocean cruise along with her husband Roland Kotter when her health took a turn for the worse.

Roland Kotter told Gulf News: “Since Sabine’s pancreatic cancer metastasised and she got terminally ill, our family doctor told her to see the world, go on cruises and live her life happily. We have been doing exactly that. We went on two other cruises earlier to the Caribbean and the Canary Islands. We decided to take the third cruise to India via Dubai and Oman. We arrived here on February 15 and after a four-day stay, were scheduled to embark upon the cruise on February 19. But Sabine fell ill the previous night. She lost consciousness and was rushed to the emergency of Medeor Hospital in an ambulance.”

I love the UAE, especially Dubai, and am happy we came here for the cruise. The quick thinking team of surgeons, doctors and ICU staff helped restore me to a reasonably good condition…

- Sabine Kotter, German tourist

Dr Rohit Kumar, medical director and head of surgery at Medeor, said: “The patient was on the verge of a cardiac arrest and had severe anaemia, with her haemoglobin dropping to 1.2g/l. Chances of her survival were very slim and her husband told us she had terminal cancer and that he was carrying a DNR form. As the patient came to us in an emergency in a critical state, we resuscitated her. We gave her nearly five units of blood.”

The patient was wheeled into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital where an efficient team of surgeons and doctors worked to nurse her back to reasonable health.

Dr Kumar said: “Owing to severe anaemia, the patient had developed gangrene on her left forehand and wrist which we had to amputate to prevent any septicaemia. The spread of gangrene was arrested and she is in a reasonably good condition.”

Sabine was eventually flown back to Germany, accompanied by a doctor and nurse from the insurance company. Although she had a DNR request, she was grateful for the lease of life that doctors gave her as she could be reunited with her sons.

“I love the UAE, especially Dubai, and am happy we came here for the cruise. The quick thinking team of surgeons, doctors and ICU staff helped restore me to a reasonably good condition and allow me to fly back home. It’s a miracle I will be able to meet my sons again,” Sabine said ahead of her flight.

What is a DNR?

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR), also known as no code or allow natural death, is a legal order to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) in case their heart were to stop or they were to stop breathing.

Many countries do not allow a DNR order. In most countries that do, the order is made by a doctor. In some countries this is based on the wishes of the patient or health care power of attorney.

The legal order may be written or oral depending on country.

A DNR is not intended to affect any treatment other than CPR, but research shows that patients with DNR orders receive less care and die sooner than other patients with similar health.