Indian visitor's hospital bill in Dubai crosses Dh100,000
Dubai - He was visiting his son.
Failing to avail of travel insurance for his parents during their visit to the UAE has come at a huge cost for Indian expat Anubhav Khanna.
His 66-year-old father, Surendra Nath Khanna, had to be rushed to the hospital due to acute breathlessness on March 15, the next morning after his arrival. He was diagnosed with a lung infection that had already spread to other organs, leading to a multi-organ failure.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Anubhav said: "When my parents arrived, I could see that my father was a bit breathless, but he didn't show any signs of being sick. But, in the morning, we had to call an ambulance as he suffered from breathlessness. By afternoon, doctors diagnosed it to be a severe lung infection. To save his life, doctors started a heavy dosage of antibiotics and other medicines. Yet, his limbs began getting discoloured."
Infection has spread so fast that Surendra's left hand was amputated on Monday. Doctors are trying hard to save the other limbs, however, his right leg seems to be affected with gangrene and may need to be amputated as well.
A native of the Indian state of Punjab, Anubhav travelled to the UAE 11 months ago and was excited to bring his parents to the country. However, he did not avail of any travel or medical insurance for them. He is currently shelling out over Dh20,000 every day and bills have exceeded Dh100,000 already.
"My brother and I have lost all our life savings. It is unfortunate that we didn't realise the importance of travel insurance. My parents and I were not familiar with the concept and our financial condition never really allowed us to think about it. I had no idea this could happen. " In desperation, Anubhav borrowed money from family, friends and booked an air ambulance for Dh42,000 from India. However, doctors who came from India said the portable ventilator cannot match the oxygen given to him in the ICU. "They failed to judge his situation and we were told this would be a risk to his health and we cancelled it. The company now refuses refund," said a devastated Anubhav.
He said his father has always been a health-conscious and active man and would avoid going to doctors. However, a few days prior to his travel, Surendra Khanna developed breathlessness and cough, which were dismissed as seasonal ailment by local doctors. "After being admitted to NMC Hospital in the Dubai Investment Park, we learnt that doctors back home didn't get any tests done and took his ailment as a regular cough and cold. The right diagnosis at the right time would have saved him."
Urging the community to come forward and help the Khannas in these testing times, Neeraj Agrawal, head of chancery and acting consul-general of India to the UAE, said: " The consulate officials and the community volunteer medical team are in touch with the family and doctors. We are keeping a close watch and helping in whatever capacity we can."
Anubhav who has just been in the UAE for less than a year, took two month advance salary from his office but that money was also lost in the air ambulance procedure. Extending his gratitude to the hospital, Anubhav said:
"The hospital has been extremely supportive and as they saw our mounting bills, they freezed the billing for a couple of days in order to do their bit to help us. We are grateful to the hospital for their support and hope they continue supporting us."
Praveen Kumar, a social worker and volunteer of the CGI community volunteer team, said: "We come across a lot of such cases. This is the third case I am coming across in the year. Normally, the consulate helps these residents in whatever capacity they can. We have to address this issue and take it up with the Indian government so as to create awareness among people traveling from India. It hardly costs Dh80-Dh90 for insurance and if you take it from India it does not cost over Rs1,000 for individuals."