It took seven years, traveling to to two countries and finally a series of challenging surgeries by the city doctors here to make Rasheed Obaid Hassan Motawa from UAE stand up again after a fateful accident, and finally walk.
Rasheed met with a devastating bike accident in his home town of Fujairah on the east coast of United Arab Emirates (UAE) in November 2009, which left him paralysed with severe injuries in his brain, chest and legs.
“Rasheed was only 16-years-old and studying when the accident happened. He had a memory loss and lost his ability to speak which eventually hampered his education,” Hassan’s father Obaid Hassan Motawa said.
He (Rasheed) was riding the bike with his friend as pillion rider, when a truck hit them from the rear, he said.
“His friend died on the spot, but Rasheed survived miraculously though he turned into a vegetable,” he added.
Visits to several hospitals in UAE, however, failed to deliver any fruitful results for the then class XI student.
It was almost five years that Rasheed was lying on bed as his entire left side was paralysed with the hip-joint and ankle of his left leg being totally damaged.
“His education was stopped and we had no clue what to do. Then on the suggestion of one of our family friends, we decided to take him to Thailand,” Obaid said.
In Thailand, doctors tried twice to reconstruct the damaged thigh and ankle, but nothing helped his cause.
Rasheed underwent six surgeries in total, but remained the same. The doctors in the UAE and Thailand never gave us hope that he would be able to walk again, Obaid, who runs a steel manufacturing factory in UAE, said.
One day one of my employees, who is a Bengali, suggested us to bring Rasheed to Kolkata where Apollo Gleneagles Hospital’s Orthopaedic and Reconstructive unit has the facilities to treat him, the father said, adding he brought his youngest son to the city in October 2015.
Orthopaedic and shoulder specialist Abheek Kar assured Obaid Hassan that his son would be able to stand up on his legs and walk.
“There were many challenges. Rasheed had a deformed hip-joint with old metal screws, a deformed and scarred thigh and leg, completely flail knee, ankle and foot. Not only these, but the main nerve of his left leg was also not functional,” Kar said.
A team of eight surgeons was formed and four major surgeries were undertaken over a period of one-and-half years till this August, the doctor said.
The surgeries included a hip replacement, ankle and foot reconstruction and multi-ligament reconstruction of the knees.
“His recovery was slow and steady. But Rasheed’s grit and perseverance was remarkable. He remained calm after the surgeries and never complained of pain... That is quite surprising for us,” Kar said.
And around a week later, Rasheed stood up on his feet and started walking, the orthopaedic said.
“This case was unique more so because the patient as well as his father knew Arabic only and we had to use an interpreter and sometimes Google translator,” he said.
“Currently he requires a stick or a walker to gain support while walking, but eventually he will be able to walk on his own,” the doctor said.
In fact, a few medicines and walking exercises will suffice for Rahseed and he is required to come down for another check-up in a year’s time as consultation will continue via e-mail interaction, Kar stated.
An overjoyed Rasheed, a die-hard fan of Real Madrid, thanked the doctors in Arabic and said, “I am thankful to the doctors. They are more than God to me. That I can walk today is not only a miracle, but also a second chance that life has given me.”