KOCHI: A 29-year-old stroke patient who was admitted to a Dubai hospital was shifted to Kochi for medical treatment on Tuesday, becoming the first patient to be transferred from UAE after the international air services were closed following the COVID lockdown in March-end.
Dileep Sabareesh, a native of Pathanamthitta, will be the first air medical transfer since the start of the pandemic from West Asia, and it came after the support of both Indian and UAE governments, a release said here.
Universal Medical Transfer Services, an air ambulance service company with operations both in UAE and India, facilitated the airlift from Dubai to Kochi supported with a medical team in a chartered air ambulance to maintain the continuity of medical care, it said.
Sabareesh, who suffered the stroke on April 6 and was under treatment at Mediclinic City Hospital, Dubai, will be shifted to Aster Medcity Hospital on arrival early on Wednesday. The air ambulance took off at 9.30 pm IST on Tuesday and is expected to reach Kochi airport early on Wednesday. While this is the first patient to be shifted to India from the UAE, another patient from the United Kingdom was brought to Kerala on a chartered flight to Kozhikode on April 25.
"The permissions for the transfer on a chartered air ambulance for this medical condition was expedited and granted by the Indian government home department, health department and Kerala government with the special efforts put in by V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs in addition to Indian Embassy and Consulate officials in UAE and Indian Consulate Medical Council Member and Volunteer Praveen Kumar overcoming the pandemic restrictions," the release said.
Nisar Ashraf, director, Universal Medical Transfer Services, said, “This is a milestone transfer for us given the present global crisis and the minimal transfers taking place due to restricted air spaces globally. We have been working on this transfer case for some time now and we could get the permission only because of the efforts of Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs and Indian Consulate Medical Council Member and Volunteer Praveen Kumar.”
The transfer was done following the complete COVID protocols and taking special safety precautions. coronavirus tests were made within 72 hours of the transfer and made sure the patient and co-passenger are COVID-19 negative before the transfer, said Dr Afsal Mohammed Medical Director Universal Medical Transfer Services.