UAE doctors save Indian expat's legs from amputation

Abu Dhabi - Robust healthcare facility saves a Dubai-based businessman from amputation of limbs


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sun 14 Feb 2021, 2:50 PM

Last updated: Sun 14 Feb 2021, 4:05 PM

Dubai-based Indian expat and a businessman Sreenivas Rao, 50, has learnt an important lesson in life amid the raging Covid-19 outbreak: the public can always count on the UAE to deliver premium healthcare treatment.

Rao had contracted SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, during his vacation to India last year.

Soon, he developed severe thrombosis – blood clot – in both his legs and underwent an unsuccessful surgery in Chennai.

Fortunately, he was saved from the amputation of his lower limbs at a hospital in Abu Dhabi.

His ordeal had started on October 30, when he tested Covid-19 positive in Chennai.

He was put on oxygen support for a week. However, he developed a niggling pain in both his legs while recovering from the viral infection at home. His health condition aggravated by the day.

On November 23, he collapsed at home and was rushed to hospital and later moved to a specialty healthcare facility.

“I couldn’t move my legs and felt numbness. Doctors advised me to undergo immediate surgery following a battery of diagnostic tests. Thrombosis was diagnosed in both my legs. They advised me to undergo immediate surgery. Else, my legs had to be amputated.”

He underwent the surgery in Chennai, but there was no relief from the excruciating pain.

Rao returned to the UAE on December 7 in search of better treatment.

“I consulted several doctors, who said there has been an inordinate delay in diagnosing the medical condition, and the possible chance of curing it through surgery is negligible. I was shattered, when I was told that I had to amputate my legs,” he said.

A wheelchair-bound Rao reached out to his friend John Sunil, chief executive officer (CEO), Burjeel Hospital.

A team of experts, led by Dr Ali Keivanjah, consultant vascular and endovascular surgeon; Dr Georgie Thomas, specialist cardiologist; and Dr Georgey Koshy, consultant cardiovascular disease, did an elaborate study of his medical condition.

They opted for a minimally invasive vascular surgical procedure, including angiography, catheter thrombectomy, to remove blood clot, ballooning and multiple stent implantation.

Other surgical procedures would have led to the spread of infection and could result in amputation.

On December 28, a five-member team of doctors performed a five-hour-long surgery and blood circulation was back in Rao’s limbs.

He was on his feet the following day.

Dr Keivanjah said that Rao’s recovery would be considered a miracle in medical science, and he would recover fully over the next few months.

“The blood clot had affected all the arterial vessels of his legs. There were a few complications of the surgery he had undergone in India. He had suffered severe pain, could barely walk and was confined to a wheelchair. We told him about the risks involved. He was very calm. He has shown tremendous courage and can walk for long in a single stretch.”

Finally, Rao, who has been a Dubai resident for the past 23 years, and his family members are at peace. He has been walking for an hour in the morning and evening.

“We are grateful to the doctors. I’m a living example of what the UAE’s healthcare sector can offer,” he added.

Sreenivas Rao and his wife Savithri with Dr Ali Keivanjah in Abu Dhabi. Supplied photo
Sreenivas Rao and his wife Savithri with Dr Ali Keivanjah in Abu Dhabi. Supplied photo

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