A Keralite survives health scare, but misses the Haj


Saudi Gazette

— When a septuagenarian pilgrim from the south Indian state of Kerala embarked on the Haj pilgrimage — journey of a lifetime — he appeared very happy and elated. As 70-year-old Ahmed Puthoor left his home in the flood-devastated Wayanad district he was dreaming of seeing the Holy Kaba, circumambulating it and performing the other Haj rituals.

All the dream evaporated in thin air as Puthoor fell seriously ill upon landing at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah. Immediately, he was taken to King Abdullah Medical Complex (KAMC), a world-class health facility which specializes in dealing with critical and emergency cases. He survived thanks to the timely medical intervention he received, but has been confined to his bed and has the support of ventilator and other vital support systems.

KAMC is known as a center of excellence in emergency health care with rapid action teams of multi-disciplinary specialists.

Puthoor continues to be under observation by a team of multi-specialist doctors and dedicated nursing and other paramedics backed by state-of-art health care technology. Although he is out of danger, he remains in the ICU. He was provided a medical attendant who could communicate with him in Malayalam language.

Officials and paramedics at the KAMC are not only providing Puthoor best health care free of cost, they are also helping him fulfill his wish of performing Umrah (minor pilgrimage).

After his gradual recovery, Puthoor sadly came to know that he has missed the Haj. He was not in a position even to move to Arafat with a medical escort like other patients who had gone there with help from the KAMC.

The ailing elderly man has urged KAMC officials to facilitate him to travel to Makkah so he can at least perform Umrah.

“I came to Saudi Arabia with the intention of performing Haj in the state of Ihram but my health forced me to skip the Haj. Now at least I want to perform Umrah and shave the head before returning home,” he told Saudi Gazette.

Puthoor finds it very hard to speak as he faces many respiratory problems. But he is full of praise for the staff at King Abdullah Medical Complex.

The officials have been trying their best to fulfill Puthoor's wish to visit Makkah to perform Umrah.

Dr. Hatim A. Al Omari, CEO of King Abdullah Medical Complex, told Saudi Gazette: “We are coordinating with the concerned authorities to take him to Makkah with medical support and escort to perform Umrah”.

He said they would seek extension of his visa to enable him completely recover and also perform Umrah.

The CEO said that Indian Haj mission doctors also frequently visit the patient to inquire about him.