Dubai: A 29-year-old New Zealander diagnosed with osteoarthritis will be able to dance again this Christmas and New Year, thanks to the kind gesture of Dubai doctors.
Carryll Chuang, an aviation industry professional, had lost her job owing to COVID-19 and was unable to bear the cost of her surgery. However, a team of surgeons led by Professor Dr Mathias Honl, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery (BHAS), operated on her December 5 and gave her a brand new hip, free of cost. Chuang was able to walk the next day and discharged, pain-free, on December 9, after having suffered three years of agony.
Early wear and tear of hip joint
It had been three years since Chuang had slept peacefully without groaning in pain. Just 29 years old, she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the hip. This means she had early wear of the hip joint cartilage, causing severe pain in her hip and groin.
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the hip joint gradually wears away over time. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective joint space between the bones decreases. This can result in bone rubbing on bone, causing excruciating pain and inflammation. Replacement of the hip joint is the only way to get relief eventually.
This year, Chuang will be able to ring in Yuletide morning and the New Year with her family pain-free after a long time.
Fearful of surgery risks
The surgery has come as a great relief for Chuang, who had a very strenuous job, requiring her to stand for long periods. She had to suffer constant pain in her groin owing to the painful cartilage in her joints but being in an industry where appearances mattered a lot, she did not have the encourage to risk a surgery as it could mar the prospects in her career.
Talking to Gulf News about her predicament, Chuang recalled, “I loved my job very much. I was worried whether undergoing surgery would affect my work. Some doctors also discouraged me considering my age. I took painkillers and continued with my job. At times, it was excruciatingly painful. I consulted several doctors, tried various treatments, and even modified my lifestyle.”
Chuang continued. “Nothing was working, and I was exasperated. However, I did not take a single day off from work in the last three years owing to my medical condition. I would take a strong pain medication that provided me with the much-needed relief,” she said.
Confined to a wheelchair
However, life became tough for Chuang with each passing day as her condition hampered all other activity. She avoided going out on her off days and stayed back at home. “There were occasions when my husband used to push me on a wheelchair when we went out. I could not even walk a short distance. The pain would get so severe,” she recounted.
Loss of job came as a real shock amid the pain
To make matters worse, Chuang lost her job owing to the pandemic. “It had come as a severe blow. I had been suffering all this to save my job. I felt my life turned upside down. I had no clue. Finally, I decided to undergo surgery before my insurance would cease,” said Chuang.
Finally, in early December, she visited BHAS and met Dr Honl, who advised her to go in a total hip replacement surgery. She underwent many tests and finally when the hospital applied for approval to her insurance, the request was declined, shattering all hopes for Chuang.
Hospital decides to extend a free offer to patient
Realising her pain and financial situation, Dr Honl decided to go ahead with her treatment free of cost. He told Gulf News, “Carryll had come to my clinic at least 10 times in a month. I understood the pain and suffering she had been going through. I wanted to help her and discussed her case with our medical director and the management. They were pleased to waive off the entire cost of the surgery for her. We performed a minimally invasive total hip replacement surgery with an anterior approach without cutting any muscles. Carryll was able to walk the next day,” said Dr Honl.
Thrilled with the pain-free results
Speaking about the relief her surgery brought to her, Chuang said, “I was a bit worried as it was my first surgery. However, everything went well. The care I received at the hospital has been exceptional. The staff were very supportive and encouraging”. She is now busy with her rehabilitation making good progress daily.
She added, “I am greatly indebted to the management of BHAS and Dr Honl for their kindness to bear the cost of my surgery. The help has come when I have been going through a tough time. My family and I would always be grateful to the hospital and the surgeon for their empathy and compassion,” said an emotional Chuang.
Waltzing to welcome New Year!
Dr Shajir Gaffar, CEO of VPS Healthcare (Dubai and Northern Emirates) said, “We are happy to have supported Carryll. At VPS Healthcare, we always believe in giving back to society and supporting the needy. We wish her all the best.”
Asked about her Christmas and New Year plans, Chuang smiled and revealed she would go attempt to get on the dance floor.