Ramachandran left for India in a wheelchair – in a condition far from the life he had lived in the UAE.
Indian expat Ramachandran Kottakkunnu, 60, suffered a stroke five months ago and, since then, he lay on a hospital bed, unable to walk, speak or do even the most basic activities. With the help of the community and the hospital where he was admitted, he was flown home earlier this week.
Ramachandran left for India in a wheelchair – in a condition far from the life he had lived in the UAE. He had been a resident for over 30 years and used to run a successful business until he lost it all, said Praveen Kumar, the social worker who managed his repatriation in collaboration with the Consulate-General of India in Dubai.
After losing his business, he started working for a small textile shop in Deira’s Naif district, earning a salary of Dh2,500. He struggled but he kept going because his wife and daughter are both ill. “His wife has cancer and his daughter has heart disease. That is the only reason he was still living here in the UAE.to pay for his family’s medical bills,” said Kumar.
Then, he suffered stroke, and the small store he was working with could no longer pay for his hospital expenses. He stayed in the hospital for nearly five months, with his bills reaching almost Dh1.6 million.
“Ramachandran was in a deplorable state. He was in a vegetative, coma state when he was admitted to the hospital five months ago. He still cannot speak; however, thanks to the hospital where he was being treated, he was able to get on a wheelchair and fly home,” Kumar said. A wheelchair and an air ticket were provided by the consulate.
“Thanks to the Consulate-General of India and intervention from social workers and volunteers from the mission’s medical team, Ramachandran was finally repatriated to his hometown in Kasaragod district in Kerala. He is now admitted for palliative care at a major hospital in Mangalore, Karnataka,” Kumar said.
Though he is still unable to speak, the social workers thought it best that he avail of treatment in India instead of staying in the UAE with no means to pay the mounting medical bills.
Jitender Singh Negi, consul for labour, consular and Madad, told Khaleej Times: “I can confirm that Ramachandran was repatriated to India with our support. He had an outstanding bill of nearly 1.6 million. However, the hospital was kind enough to release him.
“He was working for a very small company that was in financial distress amid the Covid-19 crisis, so they were not in a position to support him. Our volunteers worked with him towards his repatriation.”
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