Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 May 2020

UAE flies son in from Sudan to visit coronavirus-stricken father

The man's father was admitted to the intensive care unit of Al Ain Hospital last week

A man has been flown to the UAE from Sudan to see his ailing father, who was placed in a medically induced coma after contracting a severe case of Covid-19.

Hassan Tariq, 33, was brought to the Emirates by the UAE government last week to visit his father in the intensive care unit at Al Ain Hospital.

His father, Dr Tariq Hassan, 61, is a pharmacy administrator who had been working at Tawam Hospital, managed by Abu Dhabi Healthcare Services (Seha), in Al Ain since 1999.

You can’t believe the difference this has made to be here next to him instead of thousands of miles away from him trying to get information from anyone

Hassan Tariq

He and his wife divorced, taking their two children to Sudan, and he had been living alone for several years. After he fell sick last week, his condition rapidly deteriorated.

“I was talking to my dad from Sudan on the evening of Wednesday, May 13, when he told me he was feeling unwell and would get tested for Covid-19,” Mr Tariq said, who last saw his father when he visited the Emirates two years ago.

“He said he had a fever and had difficulty breathing.”

A few hours later, his father was admitted to hospital and Mr Tariq stopped hearing from him.

“I was calling his friends asking about my father (who are doctors at Tawam Hospital) and then I got a call saying that Seha wanted my passport number and details.”

Hassan Tariq visits his father in the intensive care unit at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain. Courtesy Seha
Hassan Tariq visits his father in the intensive care unit at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain. Courtesy Seha

Three hours later, Mr Tariq was sent a UAE entry visa and a plane ticket. He arrived to the Emirates on Friday, when he was tested for the virus. After his negative result came out on Sunday, he visited his dad.

"Seha did everything. I have no words to show my appreciation to them and the UAE government and the hospital. The Ambassador of the UAE in Sudan also did his best to make sure I was on the flight," said Mr Tariq.

“You can’t believe the difference this has made to be here next to him instead of thousands of miles away from him trying to get information from anyone.”

Prior to his arrival, doctors had been regularly communicating with Mr Tariq to update him on his father’s condition.

“It is different when you are here next to him. I want to be around when he wakes up. We are so grateful to have been giving this opportunity,” said Mr Tariq, who has a younger sister that lives in Sudan with her husband and children and whom he keeps updated on their father's health.

Doctors have told him that his father's condition is stable for now.

Dr Kamal Idris, head of the ICU division at Al Ain Hospital, said they had to put the father in a medically induced coma so they could put him on a ventilator.

“He came with respiratory failure and was sedated. He is being monitored and cared for by a multi-disciplinary team and is receiving full supportive care,” he said.

Updated: May 21, 2020 12:00 PM

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