patient Moiddeen Cherrukavath at Aster Mankhool-1630472533533
Moideenkutty Cherrukavath, a driver for the last 26 years, was in Aster Hospital, Mankhool, for four months Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A 55-year-old Indian expat worker, who suffered a cardiac arrest and was confined to a hospital bed for four months in Dubai, was repatriated free of cost to India on a stretcher along with accompanying medical staff by the Indian Consulate in Dubai after the hospital waived off a sizeable share of the Dh570,000 bill on humanitarian grounds. Charties helped clear Dh200,000.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Naveed Ahmed, specialist interventional cardiologist at Aster Hospital Mankhool, who conducted a life-saving surgery on the patient, said the patient had collapsed on the road on May 2.

“Moideenkutty Cherrukavath, a driver for the last 26 years, had been having sporadic chest pain for some time and had been advised to consult a cardiac specialist. However, he decided to take leave and fly to Kerala for the check-up. He was on his way to the hospital for the mandatory PCR test required for travel when he collapsed on the road in Ghusais. Our Emergency Medical Team arrived on the spot, revived him with a defibrillator and began giving him Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for nearly 45 minutes till his heart rhythm stabilised. They then rushed him to Aster Hospital, Mankhool, where we are equipped to handle such cases.”

Dr Naveed Ahmed

The tests revealed Cherrukavath had suffered a massive heart attack and Dr Ahmed performed emergency surgery to clear the 100 per cent block in one of the arteries.

Massive heart attack

The tests revealed Cherrukavath had suffered a massive heart attack and Dr Ahmed performed emergency surgery to clear the 100 per cent block in one of the arteries. “The CPR conducted for a long period had helped maintain a blood flow to the brain. The patient had very low blood pressure, but after surgery his vitals stabilised. He was with us for nearly four months in the ICU requiring some assisted breathing. Due to brain hypoxia (brain cells starved off oxygen due to disruption in oxygen flow to the brain) he took a long time to recover and was just about able to travel home,” said Dr Ahmed.

However, the challenge of a massive hospital bill remained. The total bill by the time he could leave had come to Dh570,000, but the Aster management worked closely charities to settle up to Dh200,000 and generously waived off the rest of the amount on humanitarian grounds.

Repatriation appeal

The patient’s wife Hafsath Kalathu Purath had approached the Indian Consulate for help to repatriate her husband, the sole breadwinner of her family. Indian social worker Nasser Vatanpally worked with the family and the consulate to be able finally repatriate Cherrukavath to a hospital in Perinthalmanna, 22 km from Mallapuram in Kerala, where he is undergoing physical and mental rehabilitation. His wife and children are happy to be re-united with Cherruvakath.

No medical insurance

Dr Sherbaz Bichcu, CEO of Aster Hospitals and Clincs, said, “We were happy to come to the aid of Cherrrukavath who suffered a massive heart attack. Dr Ahmed performed a life-saving procedure. The patient stayed in ICU for over 120 days until he was strong enough to fly back home and be reunited with his family.

Dr Sherbaz Bichcu

"Although Cherrukavath did not have medical insurance to cover the expenses, the treatment continued in the best interest of saving and sustaining a life. Aster Hospital also supported the patient financially and I feel blessed and accomplished to see him reach his home safely."

Dr Ahmed, meanwhile, has cautioned residents against ignoring the early warning signs of heart disease. “Among Indian expatriates, the risk of a heart attack comes at least 20 years earlier than other nationalties. If you are above 35, have a family history of heart disease, are a smoker, or have diabetes, hypertension or obesity, it is reccommended you undergo regualar screening and consult a heart specialist,” he said.

How Indian consulate stepped in

Tadu Mamu, media spokesperson of the Indian Consulate in Dubai, told Gulf News: “On receiving the request for repatriation from patient Cherrukavath’s wife, the Indian Consulate worked with community volunteer Nasser Vatanpally and the Aster Hospital management to make it possible for this patient to fly back home. We arranged for the complete logistical expense involved in his repatriation that included the stretcher ticket of the patient and the return tickets of the accompanying medical staff. We were happy to work with Vatanpally who dealt with all the nitty gritty of communicating with the hospital and family and facilitating this procedure.”