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Dubai doctors save tourist who got stung by jellyfish at the beach

If it wasn't treated in time, doctors said the woman could've lost her arm


Nandini Sircar

Published: Wed 16 Feb 2022, 4:21 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 Feb 2022, 6:25 PM

A holidaying Swiss tourist stung by a jellyfish has recovered from serious complications, thanks to timely medical intervention in Dubai.

One afternoon in October, Claudia K. went to a beach to enjoy some leisure time with her husband when a jellyfish stung her arm.

Just a few moments later, her left arm swelled up and she started experiencing severe pain along with a burning sensation. When she visited a hospital, doctors found that she had developed blockage in her arteries due to the bite.

A venomous sting from a jellyfish with such complications is rare in Dubai, with most stings being minor and not requiring medical intervention.

Medics said the blockage was caused from a blood clot in her arm due to venom injected by the jellyfish. If not treated in time, doctors said it could have led to gangrene, death of the body tissue from the lack of blood flow, and eventually loss of her arm.

“The last thing I expected was to end up in a hospital on my vacation. It was a nerve-racking experience,” said Claudia.

Dr Mohamed Raafat Okelah, consultant vascular and endovascular surgeon at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai, said: “The patient was in a critical condition when she came to me. She required immediate surgery to salvage her arm. Due to her complex state, we had to perform multiple surgeries to guarantee that she healed properly without losing her arm. Once we performed the surgeries, gave her medication and completed all medical procedures, the patient’s health improved remarkably and within two weeks she was discharged.”

Initially, a surgical thrombectomy was performed with intra-arterial injection to dissolve the blood clot, taking nearly six hours for the surgery to complete. Doctors said the operation was aimed at removing the blood clot from the arteries and allowing blood to flow freely.

After the initial surgery, the patient required several more surgeries to ensure the vitality of her arm tissues. Her arm also required complex surgical dressing repeatedly, for proper healing of tissues. This was followed by a skin graft surgery to cover the damaged skin and assist in quicker healing.


Finally, after two weeks, a fully recovered Claudia was ready to fly back to Switzerland.

“It was a miracle that I was referred to Dr Mohamed Okelah who handled the situation so well. He is a highly experienced surgeon who went the extra mile, guiding me and my husband throughout the whole experience and making us feel at home. I am very grateful for the care given by the entire medical staff. It is because of their care that I started feeling much better to a great extent.”

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