(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)
Published: Wed 7 Dec 2022, 3:28 PM
Indian teenager Ahmed Bilal fought hard over the past year and a half. Though he had been in and out of hospitals after suffering from epilepsy and constant fever, he still managed to take and ace his board exams. On Monday, however, the 19-year-old passed away.
Bilal's father Abdul Salim is a longtime UAE resident who has been working as a website developer for over a decade now. His family had been living back in Karnataka, India, but when the teenager's health condition deteriorated and no hospital treatment seemed to be working, Salim decided to bring them to the Emirates.
When Bilal had an epilepsy attack in 2021, he was first taken to a hospital in Mangalore. 'The hospital had a protocol - when Bilal was taken in, my family was not allowed to see and talk to him for nearly a week,” said Salim, who added that they had to pay two lakh rupees (Dh8,900) a day during that time.
After seeing no improvement in the teen's condition, the family decided to move Bilal to another hospital, where he spent another eight months.
The seizures were brought under control with the help of medications. However,“soon after discharge, Bilal suffered from a very high fever, and medical investigations revealed a cyst in his liver,” said Salim.
All these health challenges didn't stop the teen from dreaming for his future. When the board exam season rolled in, he sat for the tests and completed them with flying colours even as he struggled with a high fever.
Having lived in the UAE for years, Salim knew there are world-class healthcare facilities in the country that could possibly help his son. So, he rented a house in Sharjah at the beginning of 2022 and flew his family in.
In the Emirates, the family found hope.“We consulted doctors at the Aster hospital, and the course of treatment was discussed. It was smooth, and Bilal was getting better day by day. He became very active and even played cricket,” said Salim.
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His epilepsy, however, remained a concern.“At times, he suffered attacks for 5-10 minutes and was brought under control with medication,” the father said.
Doctors also advised the family to see a hepatologist as Bilal's liver tumour continued to grow.
Salim took his son to an expert at King's College Hospital London in Dubai, and there, they found out that the cyst had been in Bilal's liver for the last five years.
Dr Kaiser Raja, a consultant for liver disease and transplant hepatology at the hospital, said that a transplant was the only option.
The transplant would have been an eight-month procedure, which the family could afford to do only in India. Tickets were booked for December 2, but Bilal was too weak to make it to the flight.
“His condition was deteriorating, and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. His oxygen level was dropping, and doctors admitted him to the ICU,” said Salim.
“The doctors told us that Bilal is in a critical stage and to pray for him. But destiny had other plans for him,” said Salim.
Bilal is survived by his father Abdul Salim, his mother, Zeenat, two sisters, and a brother.