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French patient airlifted from Maldives to Dubai for live-saving surgery

Image Credit: Courtesy: International Modern Hospital

Dubai: In a successful life-saving procedure, a 43-year old comatose French national who was airlifted from Maldives to International Modern Hospital in Dubai, was able to recover completely after a month following surgery and intensive care treatment and fly back to France.
This is being cited by the hospital as one of the best cases for making Dubai a hub of medical tourism in the region.
Patrick Benharrous, who sustained a head injury while scuba diving in Maldives on October 22, suffered from sepsis and multiple organ failure. He was put on a ventilator and airlifted to Dubai for emergency treatment and subsequently underwent a total colectomy (colon removal)
Providing information about the case, Dr Nitin Tarale, Intensivist, said: “Benharrous suffered injury diving in 24 feet deep water and came to us on a ventilator, suffering from high fever, low blood pressure, internal bleeding in the brain, loose motions, lower limb weakness, renal failure, seizures, etc. His chances of survival were very slim as his condition put him on a high mortality list. We put him on haemodialysis although conducting this procedure in a patient with extremely low blood pressure is very tricky. But we managed to stabilise his condition and, after a fortnight, he developed stress cardio myopathy. He had bilateral pneumonia and his fever would not subside. A CT scan revealed his bowel was too large.”
Dr Rohit Kumar, head of emergency and surgery at IMH, added: “Due to internal injury the patient had developed gangrene in the entire length of his large intestine and also had several fistulas. His abdomen was distended and he had toxic megacolon. Dr Kumar conducted a total colectomy, removing the entire length of the large intestine and excised several parts of his small intestines, cleaned up the decay and put an external drain. With an excellent post-operative care and intensive care unit facilities and exemplar work by a nursing staff round the clock we were able to pull him out of the condition and the patient recovered completely within a month and was able to fly back home.”
Dr Krishna Pallakad, CEO of the hospital, said: “This patient was given a choice by his insurance provider to fly to Singapore or Dubai from Maldives and he chose to come here. We accepted the challenge because we were confident that our multi-speciality hospital would be able to manage a case like this. The patient chose Dubai and we rose to the occasion. Our success says a lot about the state of preparedness medical tourists coming to Dubai can expect.
Beharrous and his wife thanked the team for their excellent handling of the case and the heartfelt empathy shown to them and were thankful they chose to come to Dubai.
Dr Sushum Sharma, medical director of the hospital, said: “Apart from Benharrous, IMH is cultivating a culture of excellence and taking up challenging cases. We are a multi-speciality hospital dealing with more than 30 specialities and have 50 doctors. In the last one month we saved the life of an Iraqi resident, Hiraldo Alva Puri, 37, who was airlifted from Iraq, complaining of sharp abdominal pain that was diagnosed as a cyst in the right lobe of the liver that was then excised and the patient made full recovery. Similarly, another UK patient, Chandulal Popat, 75, was admitted in a critical condition and investigations revealed coronary vessel blocks. The blocks were removed with angiography and the patient was fitted with a pace-maker with plans for coronary angioplasty later. We just want to make a point that, unlike earlier, Dubai is prepared for all kinds of medical eventualities.”
The team working on this case included Dr Ashok Kumar Jayaraj, Dr Nitin Tarale, both specialists in intensive care; Dr Ashraf Satla, consultant neurosurgeon; Dr Rohit Kumar, head of surgery; Dr Najib Zeidan, gastroenterologist; Dr Ravi Sekar and Dr K.G. Sundar, both specialist interventional cardiologists, and a team of paramedics and nurses working round the clock

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Dubai on track to being medical tourism hub

Image Credit: Agency

Health authority’s roadmap will help attract people from all over the world to seek treatment here.

The plan to make Dubai a leading health care destination ticks all the boxes, leading the emirate to develop a cutting edge. The fundamentals of achieving this lie in establishing services and facilities that are so attractive and competitive, they override the choices made by individuals of seeking medical solution on their own turf. The medical tourism strategy, as presented by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) last week, has six clearly defined pathways that will converge to lead to the desired outcome of attracting people from all over to seek treatment here: Dentistry, eye surgery, cosmetic surgery, general medical screenings, orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine.
Each of these fields is a magnet in health care in today’s times and as trend-spotting reveals, they will continue to be the most sought-after treatments. In picking them, Dubai is demonstrating a proactive stance once again and moving swiftly towards establishing its reputation as the regional hub of medical excellence, apart from working towards being counted among the best medical destinations in the world. Also, the proposal to launch an e-portal for Dubai’s medical tourism segues perfectly with the progress of its Smart Government initiative — creating the right synergy between its services and those who wish to avail of them.

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Dubai rolls out medical tourism strategy

Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News Archives

Heart operation at the Dubai Hospital. This operation is a first in the UAE.

Dubai: Dubai plans to attract thousands of medical tourists from Russia, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, South Asia and GCC states and has earmarked seven specialities that will bring patients for treatment to the emirate.
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) yesterday rolled out the initiative that will bring in Dh1.2 billion in revenue from patients and their families and make Dubai one of the top medical tourism destinations around the world.
By the end of this year, special packages will be rolled out for patients that will include the cost of treatment, the visa cost, air ticket, and leisure activities for patients’ families. The DHA is working with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing to “lock in” the prices and with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs to make the visa process easier for those coming here for treatment.
“Dubai already has several elements that make it a favourable destination for medical tourism. Developing a strategy helps ensure the complete process from the time a patient visits Dubai for medical tourism right through the discharge and follow-up stage is smooth, “said Eisa Al Maidour, Director-General of DHA, announcing the plan to the media.
Dubai already attracts medical tourists from diverse countries such as Nigeria, the US, Pakistan and India for treatment for fertility to heart operations.
“We are relying on Dubai’s strengths by building a health system that supports excellence in health care with a focus on health-care professionals, health investment and excellence in services across a diversified range of medical specialities,” Al Maidour said.
The specialities range from plastic surgery and dental care to preventive health checks and wellness.
The DHA will launch a special portal for medical tourism and launch medical tourism packages that will be promoted in a target market, said Dr Ramadan Ebrahim, director of health regulation at the DHA and director of the Medical Tourism Project.

He said the hospitals are internationally accredited and the emirate has more than 25,800 health professionals in the private sector who speak more than 40 languages. “All these factors will help drive the medical tourism initiative,” he said.
He added that 107,000 medical tourists visited Dubai in 2012 and the revenues generated totalled Dh652.7 million. He said in four years’ time, by 2016, there will be a 15 per cent jump, bringing the total number of tourists to 170,000 and revenues to Dh1.2 billion. By 2020 Dubai will attract 500,000 tourists, shooting up the revenues to Dh2,6 billion

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UAE’s health care a magnet for mega deals

Dubai: The UAE’s health care sector is now seeing as much activity in its corporate boardrooms as there are people queuing up at hospitals and clinics across the country. Deals are being cut, substantial funds are getting pumped into new health care facilities and the big names are stitching together ambitious takeover strategies.
The week gone by has seen Al Noor Hospitals Group being bought by South Africa’s major health care operator MediClinic International, in a deal valued at $2.12 billion (Dh7.8 billion). The combined entity has a turnover of £4 billion plus and a network of 73 hospitals and 35 clinics.
Another UAE based operator, NMC, had also made an offer for Al Noor, which was rejected. In a relatively strongly worded rejoinder — a rare instance in the UAE and Gulf’s corporate pantheon — NMC said: “This confirms our belief in the competitiveness of our initial possible offer and that the combination of NMC and Al Noor has the strongest strategic and financial rationale for all stakeholders.”
The final word may yet to have been said in this particular deal.
But will the onrush of offers and counter proposals spell good for the country’s residents seeking top-notch — and affordable — health care? Are the vast amounts of private equity finding its way into health care pushing up costs for patients?
“I don’t think it’s private equity itself that is raising costs — the most significant expenses have been increases in building costs (for hospitals), need for even more expensive equipment and for manpower,” said Dr Azad Moopen, Chairman and Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare. (The group is reputedly the first of the regional health care operators to pull in private equity, in 2008-09.)
“In each of the last five years, the cost of recruiting (and retaining) highly qualified doctors has gone up by 5-10 per cent annually. Even then there are issues of availability with skilled manpower, raising expenses for the operator.”
Population density
And it all keeps adding up. In the last three years, there has been a complete reconstruction of health care provisioning in the UAE. Smaller neighbourhood clinics were bought over by generic chains. Multi-speciality hospitals opened at just about any available high population density locations, and more are on the way. Compulsory health care insurance in Abu Dhabi and Dubai has been the other propellant for growth.
“There is a race among health care providers and private equity to build up their networks well before a saturation level is reached on sector’s growth prospects,” said Dr Moopen. “Right now, the growth is touching high double-digits, but there is a need to prepare for a time when they slip into low single digits.
“The reason why there is so much interest in buying an existing operator is to help save time. A greenfield health care project could take anywhere up to three to four years from drawing board to the actual opening. Buying an existing asset saves time.”
The health care investment arm of Al Masah Capital has just gone through a rebranding — it is now known as “Avivo Group” and quite distinct from its earlier avatar, “Healthcare Mena Ltd”.
According to Shailesh Dash, Founder and CEO of Al Masah Capital, the consolidation wave in local health care will translate into greater benefits for patients by bringing in a “consistent service’ to what they offer.
“Regulatory changes on quality and insurance requires bigger investments — which makes it difficult for smaller operators,” said Dash. “As a result, we expect to see more consolidation in the industry.
“Larger operators also offer to the patient the convenience of accessing a wider range of services, quality improvement and specialities under the same roof and saves him time.”
Fund inflow
The Avivo Group currently lists 32 facilities in its network, which will be raised to 50 by end-2016 through an infusion of Dh1.1 billion from Al Masah Capital. The intention is to service 2 million patients a year from the current 1.3 million.
“Health care asset values have indeed increased due to the significant funds that have flowed into the sector,” said Dash. “But [it is] also due to a better sector outlook driven by a more advantageous legal framework and increasing demand for accessible high-quality health care services.
“But they are at the same time trading at multiples lower than the Asian and Western markets. Therefore, we believe there is further room for growth in the pricing for these assets.”
Health care deal-making in the UAE sports a rosy hue
The pipeline of deals has been robust, with MediClinic’s acquisition of Noor Hospitals just the latest. Noor Hospitals itself bought the rehabilitation services provider Rochester Wellness. Two years ago, Al Noor had bought over Abu Dhabi based Gulf International Cancer Centre.
In June, NMC Healthcare confirmed the $160.6 million purchase of ProVita International Medical Centre, using funds sourced from raising a $475 million loan.
In April, NMC bought 90 per cent in Americare for $33 million. The latter offers home-based services.
Also in April, NMC announced a deal for Dr Sunny Healthcare Group, which had its strengths in serving a predominantly Sharjah based populace.

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