NAT Covid long hauler-1632489690912
Naseer Vatanappally (left), Kareem Valapad and Sahil Nadapuram see off M.A. on a stretcher on Thursday. Image Credit: Supplied

Ras Al Khaimah: An Indian woman, who had come to the UAE to look for a job, was repatriated on Thursday after being hospitalised here for more than seven months due to long-term COVID-19 complications.

M.A, 54, was flown home on a stretcher with a nurse accompanying her, the Indian Consulate in Dubai, which bore the expenses for her journey, said. “She landed here on February 10 and on February 18 she tested positive for COVID-19,” the consulate told Gulf News.

M.A. had no reported comorbidities, according to her medical records seen by Gulf News.

However, she suffered critical COVID-19 pneumonia and was put on a ventilator. As her condition worsened, M.A. suffered a cardiac arrest as well. She had to be put on the ventilator twice.

Due to hypoxic respiratory failure, she was initially intubated on February 26 and taken off the ventilator on March 16. She was re-intubated on April 8 and a tracheostomy was done on April 24, her medical report revealed. She was later diagnosed with anoxic encephalopathy — a type of severe brain injury, with acute COVID pneumonia and bacterial sepsis.

With nobody to take care of her, it was finally decided to fly the COVID long-hauler back home for further treatment. Social worker Naseer Vatanappally, a volunteer with the Indian Consulate in Dubai, who helped with the repatriation procedures for M.A, said Khor Fakkan Hospital and Ras Al Khaimah Field Hospital, where she had been under treatment, did not charge anything for the treatment.

He said the Indian Consulate had paid for her stretcher ticket and the nurse who accompanied her.

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“She had come here looking for a job because her husband was sick and unable to work, while her only son had died earlier. It is very unfortunate that she had to fly back home in this paralysed state,” said Vatanappally.

He said some relatives would be getting her admitted to a hospital in her hometown in Mangaluru, in the south Indian state of Karnataka.