Free heart surgeries for 25 poor expatriates in GCC countries

DUBAI — A Dubai-based father, who lost his young daughter in a road accident, is trying to give a new lease of life to 100 poor heart patients through a charity foundation named after the latter.

Indian businessman and philanthropist K. Jalaludheen has announced that he will sponsor cardiac surgeries of 100 patients, 25 of whom will be selected from the expatriate community in the GCC countries.

The initiative named Hridaya Spandanam (Heart Beats) will be carried out by Merlyn Foundation, which was launched by Jalaludheen in memory of his daughter Merlyn who had an untimely death in 1997.

Fourteen-year-old Merlyn, who was then an eighth grade student in The Indian School in Dubai, was in hospital for 56 days after she was knocked down by a car while crossing the road to board her school bus. Jalaludheen, who has carried out various charity programmes through Merlyn Foundation since its inception, told Khaleej Times that he floated the latest heart surgery scheme to help rekindle hope in the families of poor, young patients with heart ailments.

He said his home state, Kerala, has the highest number of heart patients in India, where thousands of people succumb to cardiac disorders each year. Heart surgeries cost more than Rs100,000 (approximately Dh7,430) per patient, which the poor cannot afford.

Jalaludheen, who is also the director of the Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), a major tertiary care hospital promoted by non-resident Indians, said all surgeries would be carried out at the hospital located in Thiruvananthapuram. He said the hospital has formed a screening committee, including expert cardiologists and others, to select the deserving patients from Kerala and the GCC by evaluating the nature of their disease, their financial background and social situations.

“We are giving preference to comparatively young patients, as they will be able to look after their families for a longer time after the treatment,” he said.

After hospital discharge, the selected patients will be provided with free-of-cost post-operative medication by Jalaludheen’s friend and industrialist Sanjeev Charles. Those interested can contact 055-1244801 or 04-3408777 for the details of the screening process.

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