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| 16 December, 2017

Hospital in Dubai waives 80% of medical tourist’s fee

Nigerian patient with huge facial tumour was unable to pay bill in total

A nurse works in a hospital room for privately insured patients in this posed picture taken at the hospital of the Canton of Nidwalden in Stans
image used for illustrative purpose

A nurse works in a hospital room for privately insured patients in this posed picture taken at the hospital of the Canton of Nidwalden in Stans image used for illustrative purpose

REUTERS/Michael Buholzer
Dubai: A young Nigerian national suffering from a rare condition has been given an early Christmas present by a team of doctors at the NMC Hospital, Dubai Investment Park branch.

The doctors not only removed a recurring 1.5kg facial tumour in a seven-hour surgery but waived more than 80 per cent of the cost of surgery as a humanitarian gesture to him.

Twenty-five-year-old Anayo Isaac, a house painter from Nigeria, travelled to Dubai in September, seeking medical help for a huge benign facial tumour that extended to his neck and skull. This was a cry of help from Isaac who had undergone two surgeries in Nigeria in 2009 and 2012 for excision, but at both times, the tumour reappeared making him a social recluse.

Isaac told Gulf News, “I was finding it difficult to talk, eat or conduct my life normally and my Facebook friends assured to raise the money for surgery in Dubai, so I arrived here in September.”

Prashant Manghat, CEO and executive director of NMC Health, told Gulf News: “Isaac had the largest reported case of ameloblastoma and was refused surgery by six-seven hospitals he visited in the UAE because his case required a multidisciplinary team to tackle.”

Manghat added: “A CT scan showed a huge tumour from the hyoid bone in the neck to a temporal bone in the skull and from the ear to the other side of the mouth. It had also pushed the tongue, food pipe and airway to the left side making it difficult for him to eat and swallow. The entire lower jaw had been destroyed on the right side and on the left side till second molar.”

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Apart from the size of the tumour, the multidisciplinary team consisting of oncological surgeon Dr Sukrit Shetty, oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr Bhushan Jayade, neurosurgeon Dr Santosh Sharma, two plastic surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses, had to face other challenges.

“The tumour extended to critical areas like the base of the skull and orbit, it involved vital organs like the carotid arteries, the jugular vein and facial nerve and also involved reconstruction of the upper digestive tract and aesthetic facial reconstruction,” explained Manghat.

Isaac underwent surgery on September 28, only paying Dh10,000 of the amount with the promise of payment from his friends. Within a month, he made complete recovery and was able to eat and drink soft food and manage to talk a little. However, only some friends kept their part of the deal and Isaac realised he had only a quarter of the amount he required to pay the hospital.

Seeing his plight, the hospital accepted whatever he could pay and discharged him. The bills amounted to Dh270,000 while Isaac could pay only Dh67,500 in total.

Manghat said: “Considering the genuine nature of the situation of the patient and considering that the Dubai Health Authority’s DXH (Dubai Health Experience which is a consortium of health-care facilities facilitating medical tourism) campaign is working overtime and burning the midnight oil to promote Dubai as a global destination for medical value tourism, we took a larger call of not insisting the patient to pay up his hospital bill. This would be NMC’s Christmas gift to him and his family.”

Isaac who had tears of joy streaming down his face, told Gulf News: “I cannot believe that such kindness and generosity exist in times like this. I just want to thank the doctors, the hospital and this country for giving me back a chance at normal life. I look forward to going home and being able to resume a normal life.”

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