This Indian man visits the UAE without medical insurance and finds out he has metastatic cancer
RAS AL KHAIMAH: A 49-year-old Indian visiting the UAE, is in non-verbal state after developing seizures and collapsing on the streets of Ras Al Khaimah.
Hasimuddin Ahmad, hailing from Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh (UP), has been non-responsive since the incident occured last month. He is on a visit in the UAE, arriving on April 15 as came to the country seeking employment. He renewed it for another month as he came here looking for a job. Ahmad’s visit visa expired on June 15.
On May 27, late evening, Ahmad was on his way to meet a friend in Ras Al Khaimah when he collapsed on the street. Passers-by called the police and he was taken to Al Saqr hospital where Ahmad stayed for ten days before being shifted to Ibrahim Bin Hamad Obaidullah – Hospital in the northern emirate on June 6.
A hospital report (a copy with Gulf News) confirms Ahmad was first admitted to Al Saqr hospital before being shifted to Ibrahim Bin Hamad Obaidullah – Hospital. He was brought to the hospital with recurrent seizures.
A lab investigation done by the hospital revealed Ahmad suffers from malignant melanoma with metastasis to the brain, liver, neck lymph nodes and dorsal spine. The hospital report also shows Ahmad has multiple melanomas on the scalp, face, chest, abdomen and the back along with a large lesion on the scalp which is 4 by 5 cm and fungating.
Unfortunately, Ahmad has coughed up a fat hospital bill as he does not have a medical insurance. Social workers in the UAE are working hard to repatriate the man to his hometown in India so he can get treatment at home and be with his loved ones.
In light of the situation, UAE social workers called for travelers coming to the UAE to take comprehensive medical insurance before setting foot in the country.
“A case in point is the issue with Ahmad. He is lying in the hospital with a mounting cost as he does not have a medical insurance. The hospital bill currently runs into several tens of thousands of dirhams,” said Sreedharan Prasad from Ras Al Khaimah who is connecting with relevant authorities to send Ahmad home.
Prasad has approached the Consulate General of India to help with the process. In a letter addressed to the consul general of India (CGI), Prasad asked for help from the consulate to bear the cost of a stretcher ticket for the man from Dubai to Delhi and Delhi to Lucknow.
“There is only one airline which flies directly to Lucknow and that is Air India Express. The airline does not have a facility to accommodate a stretcher on flight. So the other option is taking him on Air India via New Delhi. The patient also needs oxygen and suction till destination. So I have requested for a stretcher ticket all the way up to Lucknow, nursing assistance and ticket for an accompanying person who will travel with Ahmad and hand him over to his family,” Praasad said while detailing his request.
According to Prasad, he is getting along with all the necessary paper-work required to repatriate Ahmad home. He is expected to leave the UAE in a couple of days.
The importance of travel insurance
Praveen Kumar, core member for the medical committee set up by the Consulate General of India said the consulate is handling at least a dozen such cases at the moment. “The Government of India (GOI) has to put stringent regulations in place for outbound travellers to take a comprehensive medical insurance prior to their departure from India. Premiums for insurance covers is not that high in India, they must take it, just so they are not in a financial debt in a foreign country if anything untoward happens,” said Kumar.
He added that cost of sending patients to India in critical medical condition with stretchers can cost at least Dh30,000. “For example in the case of Ahmad, the stretcher ticket alone costs around Dh12,000 up to Lucknow on Air India. In addition the consulate will provide a medical escort and a doctor to fly with him. Their ticket costs need to be included too. We expect the cost of repatriating him will be at least Dh30,000.”
How much would travel insurance cost me?
A random survey done by Gulf News regarding inbound travel insurance policies to find average cost of cover for visitors, we found that an AXA travel insurance cover, for instance, comes with a premium as low as Dh60 for a 15-day stay in the UAE. This increases based on duration of stay as Dh77 for 22 days, Dh100 for a month, Dh200 for two months, Dh300 for three and Dh400 for six months.
The policy, representative of many available, covers up to Dh50,000 for emergency transportation, Dh15,000 for repatriation of mortal remains, Dh5,000 for cancellation or curtailment, Dh10,000 for personal baggage and money and more.
Another travel insurance policy by Orient Insurance PJSC revealed premiums for travelers up to the age of 79 comes with a starting price of Dh120, which covers emergency medical expenses of up to $50,000 and repatriation costs of up to a limit of $5,000.
Prasad said people could source cheaper policies in India for premiums as low as Dh55.