Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 April 2020

Mystery solved: family of Nepali woman who lost her memory in Dubai is found

The woman will be discharged from a hospital in Dubai after a ‘miracle’ recovery from a traumatic brain injury

Yam Kumari Thapa pictured in Rashid Hospital. This photo oh her was widely shared on social media to help track down her family. Courtesy Nepali Community Group Facebook
Yam Kumari Thapa pictured in Rashid Hospital. This photo oh her was widely shared on social media to help track down her family. Courtesy Nepali Community Group Facebook

The UAE’s Nepali community has tracked down the family of a woman who lost her memory and has been in hospital for the past four months after a brain trauma injury.

The Embassy of Nepal in Abu Dhabi said Yam Kumari Thapa, 46, will soon be discharged into its care and flown to Katmandu to her husband and four children.

“We have information that her family is ready to receive her in Nepal and we will soon get Yam from the hospital and bring her to the embassy,” Nirmala Thapa, Nepal’s labour consul, told The National.

“Nepali residents in Dubai have helped find her family. Once we complete all paperwork, she will return home.”

Passport copies recovered from Ms Thapa showed she had been working with a family in the UAE for a few years but authorities have been unable to locate her employer.

An unconscious Ms Thapa was brought to Rashid Hospital in Dubai in October last year.

Being back with her family will give her some peace. I hope life is better for her now

Laila Abu Baker

Medical reports, shared with The National, showed that intubation and mechanical ventilation saved her life.

She required neurosurgery for bleeding and swelling in the brain and needs care for headache and pain, as per the reports.

Rashid Hospital declined to comment on the woman’s health, citing patient confidentiality.

Ms Thapa spoke Nepali, Hindi and Arabic but could not remember her work address or details about her family back home, according to embassy officials and social workers.

After reading her story in the local media, a group of Nepali residents visited Ms Thapa in hospitals and shared photos of her on Facebook with a message encouraging others to do the same to help track her family down.

Govind Dhakal, a volunteer, said that within hours of sending out the photograph on a community Facebook page, they received messages from Portugal and Nepal from two people who recognised Ms Thapa.

He has since spoken to Ms Thapa’s husband and daughter, who live in Nepal’s Gorkha district and identified her.

Ms Thapa’s family sent him documents to confirm her identity that have been handed over to the Nepali embassy in Abu Dhabi.

“Her daughter said, 'She is my mum, please help her come back to Nepal',” said Mr Dhakal, who works with a construction company.

“I explained that some procedures must be completed before Yam can return.”

He learnt Ms Thapa has three sons and a daughter, had worked in Dubai for four years and the family had lost contact with her in October.

“We did this as a human gesture. Our concern was to find out where she is from,” Mr Dhakal said.

Doctors described Ms Thapa's recovery as extraordinary, saying brain oedema, swelling and herniations typically have high death rates.

“It is a miracle she survived. Timing is very important. Early intervention and receiving care immediately saved her life,” said Dr Chelladurai Hariharan, a neurologist at Aster Hospital, who did not treat Ms Thapa but dealt with similar cases.

“This sort of acute brain injury is often fatal with a worldwide mortality rate of 40 per cent. Long-term consequences are memory loss because the temporal lobe is affected so it is natural for her to forget her past.”

He said Ms Thapa could have suffered an injury to the brain due to a fall or an accident and she could improve with rehabilitation.

Laila Abu Baker, an Indian social worker who helped bring Ms Thapa’s story to light, is keen on seeing her reunited with family.

“She spoke Hindi and Arabic very well which made us think that she worked with an Arab family,” said Ms Baker, who was drawn to Ms Thapa as she met her often in hospital over the last few months.

“She would say she has a son in Nepal. Being back with her family will give her some peace. I hope life is better for her now.”

Updated: February 20, 2020 06:29 PM

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