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In coma for a year, Indian worker in UAE gets new home in Kerala

In coma for a year, Indian worker in UAE gets new home in Kerala
Pradeep Sharma

Dubai - His family in India refused to take him back due to their poor financial condition.


Anu Warrier

Published: Thu 7 Sep 2017, 3:26 PM

Last updated: Fri 8 Sep 2017, 7:22 PM

Pradeep Sharma will have a new home now, in Kerala. A worker, who left his home in Bihar two years ago to work as a carpenter in Dubai, Sharma had been lying  comatose in Rashid Hospital for last one year.

Even after the company he worked for offered help to repatriate him to India, his family refused to accept him because of their financial condition. Now, a non-governmental organisation and rehabilitation centre in Kerala has taken responsibility to take care of Sharma and he has been shifted to the state on Wednesday.

Sharma joined Al Shandagha Wood Industries in Dubai as carpenter in 2015, leaving his parents, wife and two children back home in Manjhagarh of Bihar's Gopalganj district. However, even before completing one year in job, the 31-year-old collapsed at his accommodation. His roommates rushed him to a private clinic and then to Rashid Hospital, where he was being treated for more than one year.

Once the doctors at Rashid Hospital performed emergency surgeries and treatments, they preferred to send him back to India, where he could continue the treatment and physiotherapy. But unfortunately, his family was not willing to accept him. "We tried every way to convince his family to accept him. But they were not ready to accept him, siting their financial conditions. We approached them through the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and all other possible ways. But they didn't even responded to our requests," said a representative from the firm where Sharma worked.

Naseer Vadanappally, a social worker in Dubai, came to know about Sharma's condition during his visit to the hospital. He also made efforts to repatriate Sharma to his home, but in vain. "His family is so poor that they can't even arrange a bed for him at their house. The company offered some financial help. But the family was not convinced," he said.

It was at this time, Uma Preman, a healthcare activist and social worker from Kerala, visited the hospital with Naseer. "I knew that Naseer has been helping people to repatriate bodies from Dubai. I went with him to the hospital to see the procedures."

At the hospital, Naseer told Preman that more than the dead, there are people who go through all the hardships despite surviving after tragedies. And that talk led to Sharma's condition.

"The company was willing to pay for the ticket. But the problem was there should be an acceptance letter from his relatives to relieve him from the hospital. We talked to his family and explained the situation to them. They had no issues in Uma Preman taking him to Kerala to continue the treatment," said Naseer.

Rashid Hospital, Sharma's company, Naseer and Uma Preman's Shanthi Medical Information Centre for Palliative Care and Treatment coordinated efforts for three months to make the repatriation of Sharma possible.

Sharma was flown to Kochi from Dubai on Wednesday by an Air India Express flight and was shifted from there to Shanthi centre's rehabilitation centre in Attappadi of Palakkad district.

"He reached here today in the morning. During the ambulance journey from Kochi to Palakkad, he experienced some health issues. He vomited twice, but we managed to get him emergency care in a hospital on the way. Our doctors will examine him today and we will decide on the future treatment plans," Uma Preman said on phone on Thursday morning.

She hoped that once Sharma's condition becomes better and he settles down at the centre, she could convince his family, at least to visit him. "They are very poor and they can't afford to come here. I hope I can provide train tickets for his wife and children to visit him."

'There are many others who need help'

Uma Preman started Santhi Medical Information Centre, a charitable institution, in1997 as a resource centre for those who seek medical information, treatment and financial assistance for crippling or life-threatening ailments. The centre has facilitated kidney transplants for 680 patients, including 62 transplants from the Gulf, and heart surgeries for 20,500 patients, including 184 from the Gulf.

"During my recent visit to Dubai, I saw many patients there who have no place to go back to. Pradeep Sharma is only one among the many Indians there. Another patient I saw was from Hyderabad, whose family wasn't even responding to the continuous requests from social worker Naseer Vadanappally and Indian missions. He is suffering from kidney disease and needs a transplant. I know that Indian missions can't do much about this."

Preman is planning to start a rehabilitation centre for such patients. "There are such stranded patients in all the Gulf countries. My organisation works with contributions from the non-resident Indians in these countries and I hope this could be a way of giving back to them."

She said she would raise the issue with India's external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.


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