UAE visitor in coma for 3 months to fly home today

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Sharjah Filed on October 30, 2019 | Last updated on October 30, 2019 at 06.42 am
UAE, visitor, coma, 3 months, fly home, Al Qasimia Hospital, hometown, Kerala, Consulate-General of India, Dubai, UAE
Salam Unnikkandath arrived in the UAE on a visit visa in the hopes of finding a job and relieving his family from poverty.- Supplied photo

Salam's Dh230,000 hospital bills were waived off, and he is expected to fly back home to Kochi.

A 44-year-old Indian visitor, who had been lying in coma for three months at Sharjah's Al Qassimi Hospital, will be repatriated to his hometown in Kerala today.

Salam Unnikkandath arrived in the UAE on a visit visa in the hopes of finding a job and relieving his family from poverty. Unfortunately, he slipped into a vegetative state following a heart attack and a bout of pneumonia. His wife Seenath had joined him in Sharjah in August as the couple was planning to launch a food delivery business among the workers' community in Sharjah.

Thanks to the intervention of the Consulate-General of India in Dubai and help from social worker Naseer Vatanapally, Salam's Dh230,000 hospital bills were waived off, and he is expected to fly back home to Kochi at 1pm tomorrow.

The consulate has provided him with a stretcher ticket and an escort nurse ticket, said Jitendra Singh Negi, the consul for labour, consular and Madad helpline.

A distraught Seenath told Khaleej Times: "My husband was an autorickshaw driver in Kerala and he came here on a visit visa in the hope of finding a job. He found a job as a truck driver, and we hoped all our problems would now be resolved."

She said: "While job hunting, he used to cook food for some of his roommates and friends. Recognising his talent, they encouraged him to start a small food delivery business."

Seenath joined her husband to help him with the cooking. However, shortly after her arrival, Salam fell severely ill. "He had a terrible fever and could not breathe. We took him to a clinic, who then referred him to Al Qasimia Hospital," she said.

At the hospital, the doctors informed the family that he had suffered a stroke. He was also diagnosed with acute pneumonia, which damaged his brain, according to Seenath. "Now, he is in a vegetable state. He cannot speak or move around much. We have no money, we have debts back home, and because we haven't paid for the autorickshaw in the last three months, that too was taken away from us. I will be taking him back to Kerala for further treatment," she said. The couple have three kids - a daughter aged 20 years, and sons of 17 and 13 years old.

According to a consulate official, Salam was admitted to Al Qassimi Hospital Sharjah on August 7 following shortness of breath and cardiac arrest and was diagnosed of pneumonia and ischemic heart disease.

"The case was brought to our notice by a community volunteer and with consulate's assistance, he is being shifted to India tomorrow at 1.45pm from Dubai to Kochi via Air India in a stretcher ticket with medical nurse escort."

Naseer Vatanappally, the social worker who is handling the case, said: "The case was referred to me by his relatives and we brought the matter to the attention of the consulate. The consulate has provided all the support to ensure his immediate repatriation."



Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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