Jeddah: Mohammed Shamsuddin, a native of Mustabad mandal in Rajanna Sircilla district, who has been in the coma since June 6, 2017, at a Saudi hospital in Dammam, was finally repatriated to his native place on Friday with the help of a Malayali social worker, Nass Vokkam. Shamshuddin had a severe stroke, followed by bleeding in brain.
Vokkam not only pursued the Telangana worker’s case with various Saudi government offices but also accompanied him all the way to Hyderabad.
The sister, whom he had avoided for two decades, received her brother on Friday. Since there is no direct flight to Hyderabad from the Saudi city where the patient was staying, it was a major challenge to shift the oxygen-supported, stretcher-bound patient through other routes with cumulative flight time. Shamsuddin left from Dammam on Thursday and arrived in Hyderabad on Friday via Colombo. He was received by the Telangana government’s NRI affairs official upon the arrival and shifted to NIMS.
Finding a paramedic to escort the patient up to Hyderabad also proved to be difficult. However, V Meera Kumari, who worked previously in Apollo hospital in Hyderabad and later moved to Saudi, volunteered to escort the patient up to Hyderabad. Medical/Paramedical attendant is mandatory for stretcher passengers as per aviation rules.
It was an uphill task to locate Shamshuddin’s next of kin due to lack of particulars. Later, his iqama (visa card) was found but it expired long ago.
Shamshuddin continued to stay in Saudi Arabia doing odd jobs for survival. He could not visit his home country even when his parents died.
The patient could only be flown back on a stretcher with medical escort which costs Rs 5 lakh, beyond the means of the family’s economic background.
The Indian Embassy in Riyadh has borne the cost of repatriation, including airfare to nurse Meera Kumari. Shamshuddin’s illegal status was also an impediment before his repatriation. In addition, there was a case against him for non-payment of car rent. However, the car rental company withdrew the case following the intervention of NRI community worker Nass Vokkam, who also pleaded with the company to get the due amount waived.
“We took up the matter with local authorities with the help of THE Indian Embassy for his early repatriation and better treatment in India,” Nass said.