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Roshin George

Salman

A young Indian expat with a meagre salary is looking for philanthropists willing to foot his comatose aunt’s mounting hospital bills in Dubai and help with her repatriation in an air ambulance.
Mumbai native 68-year-old Habibabi Mohammed suffered a stroke on May 11, 2020 and has been under the wings of Mediclinic City Hospital in Dubai since then. A salon worker and Dubai resident for 35 years, she had fallen in the bathroom in the early hours of the morning when she got up to offer the tahajjud prayer during the Ramadan month. Her roommate and nephew Salman, who works in a courier company, had found her lying unconscious on the bathroom floor. Since most of the government hospitals had no room for non-COVID patients, the ambulance staff took her to the private City Hospital in Dubai Healthcare City. A brain surgery was performed immediately but it did not help improve her condition. A trachestomy was done too to ease her breathing. Diabetic and hypertensive, she has been on ventilator even though her vital signs are stable.
Speaking to this correspondent, Salman said that his aunt has now opened her eyes but is unable to speak or move.
Her hospital bills have mounted AED 390,000, and a hapless Salman is being constantly badgered by the hospital to cough up the amount. The young man who earns a paltry 3000 dirhams struggles to afford his rent and other daily expenses, let alone take up this additional burden. Salman is Habibabi’s only relative in Dubai. Ever since he came to Dubai in 2013 looking for a job, he has been sharing accommodation with his maternal aunt.
Salman said that his aunt, who worked at a Karama salon, did not have a medical insurance to cover her hospital bills; because of her advanced age, the insurance premiums quoted were high and she had not found an insurance policy that was affordable.
The hospital has ruled that long-term nursing care including passive physiotherapy will be necessary since no further recovery is expected. It has recommended repatriation with physician and nurse escort as well as supportive medical equipment.
For assistance with repatriation, Salman has been knocking at the doors of the Indian consulate in Dubai with the help of social workers Praveen, Aji and Naseer Vatanapally. The 29-year-old has not been able to go to work for the past two months and is surviving without wages. He is banking on kind-hearted compatriots to help send his ailing aunt home, where she will be attended to by her siblings and their family. Salman said they have a joint family back in Santa Cruz, Mumbai.
Habibabi has no children; her husband is old and living in Dubai with his sons from the first wife.
As of now, there is no help in sight for this young man who sounded strong and stoic as he fervently prays and hopes for a safe passage for his aunt.

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