Two decades later, Indian finally goes home in comatose condition

March 09, 2019
Mohammed Shamshuddin was lying in a state of coma for more than a year and a half in a hospital in Dammam.
Mohammed Shamshuddin was lying in a state of coma for more than a year and a half in a hospital in Dammam.

Irfan Mohammed

Saudi Gazette

An Indian expatriate who slipped into a coma more than one and half years ago and was receiving treatment at a hospital in the Eastern Province was finally repatriated home on Friday thanks to the efforts social workers.

Mohammed Shamshuddin, 43, had been in coma since June 6, 2017, at a hospital in Dammam after a severe stroke, followed by brain hemorrhage.

Nass Shoukat Ali Vakkom not only followed up the poor patient›s case with various Saudi government offices but also accompanied him all the way up to his home in the south Indian state of Telangana.

It was a big challenge to transfer the stretcher-bound patient with oxygen cylinders and respiratory support through multiple routes with cumulative flight hours to Hyderabad airport in India, as there was no direct flight to the destination from Dammam.

It was also an uphill task for Vakkom to locate Shamshuddin›s next of kin due to lack of particulars. Later his iqama number was found but it was discovered that it had expired a long time ago and he was living in the Kingdom illegally.

Shamshuddin continued to stay in Saudi Arabia doing odd jobs for survival. He could not visit his home country even when his parents died. He was unable to earn money for the marriage of his two younger sisters. Feeling guilty, Shamshuddin remained incommunicado with his family for two decades, according to relatives.

The Indian Embassy in Riyadh bore the entire cost of repatriation, which was approximately SR20,000, an amount beyond the imagination of the patient›s family.

Finding a paramedic to escort the patient was also difficult. V. Meera Kumari, a nurse in a hospital in Abqaiq, volunteered to travel with the patient.

Shamshuddin›s illegal status was also an impediment before his repatriation. In addition, there was a police case against him for non-payment of car rent. However, the car rental company withdrew the case following a request by Vakkom, who also pleaded with the company to get the due amount waived.

«We took up the matter with the local authorities with the help of the Indian Embassy, which enabled his repatriation to India, where he receive better treatment,» Vakkom said. He thanked the embassy officials and also the Telangana government for their support.

As fate had it, Shamshuddin›s younger sister, whom he avoided for more than two decades out of shame, received her unconscious brother on a stretcher Friday, which coincidentally was International Women›s Day.

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