Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

UAE doctors save the life of Polish tourist with meningitis

Patryk Jarczak, 18, fell ill just a day after arriving in the Emirates

Patryk Jazczak, 18, was looked after at Dibba Hospital in Fujairah. Courtesy of the Jazczak family
Patryk Jazczak, 18, was looked after at Dibba Hospital in Fujairah. Courtesy of the Jazczak family

Doctors have saved the life of a teenage tourist from Poland after he developed meningitis while on holiday in the UAE.

Patryk Jarczak, 18, fell ill just a day after arriving in the Emirates on a week-long trip with his parents and eight-year-old brother.

The incubation period for the illness is usually around four days, meaning Mr Jarczak contracted the illness in Poland before leaving for the UAE.

After spending a morning at the beach, the teenager initially complained of having a bad stomach ache.

But by the following day he was suffering from a high fever and an extensive rash across his body.

He was rushed to hospital where he soon fell into a coma after suffering multiple organ failure.

“His organs stopped working one by one and he couldn’t breathe on his own,” said Kamila Rodrigues, who has acted as a translator for the family.

“They put him on life support. His kidneys, everything, shut down. In this first hour they [medics] said [to the family] I’m sorry we can’t help you. He’s dying. You need to say goodbye to your son.”

Mr Jarczak was admitted to Dibba Hospital in Fujairah on January 17. As he slipped into a coma and his organs began failing, doctors battled to save his life.

Tests revealed he had meningococcal septicaemia, a sudden and acute infection of the bloodstream which can prove fatal.

Fortunately, after 48 hours, Mr Jarczak began responding to medication and his condition steadily improved.

On Sunday, his family said he came out of a coma five days ago but still remains seriously unwell.

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His kidneys are not yet functioning fully and he remains very weak and unable to eat.

He is also at risk of losing his fingers and toes due to damage caused by the sepsis.

“His parents are extremely thankful to the hospital in Dibba and the intensive care doctors and nurses who saved their child,” said Ms Rodrigues.

“At the beginning they said there was no chance he would survive this. The doctors in Dibba did something impossible.

“Even they are calling it a miracle. He shouldn’t be alive and he is.”

Mr Jarczak is now expected to be transferred to Poland, where he will continue his recovery.

The family said they have health insurance which will cover their son’s hospital bills up to Dh200,000, but that his treatment may exceed this figure.

Patryk Jazczak, 18, prior to falling ill. Courtesy of the Jazczak family
Patryk Jazczak, 18, prior to falling ill. Courtesy of the Jazczak family

Meningococcal septicaemiam, the blood poisoning form of meningococcal meningitis, is an infection caused by large amounts of bacteria entering the bloodstream.

The bacteria only infect humans and are transmitted from person to person through respiratory or throat secretions.

The infection can prove fatal if left untreated, with patients who survive sometimes requiring finger or limb amputations.

Vaccinations against several strains of meningitis are available in the UAE.

“The family wants to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinations,” said Ms Rodrigues.

“Patryk had all sorts of vaccinations that are mandatory in Poland, but meningococcal meningitis is not.

“They want to raise awareness of this vaccination and say a big thank you to the hospital.”

Updated: February 3, 2019 05:52 PM

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