Muscat: A Pakistani blue collar worker is battling for his life against suspected, potentially contagious, brain fever at the Royal Hospital's intensive care unit.
The Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) Hospital medics said Shahid Muhammad Nawas is suffering from tuberculosis and reportedly, meningitis, too. The 25-year-old patient was admitted to SQUH on Sunday night.
"Preliminary results point to meningitis. The final lab results are yet to come. He was shifted to Royal Hospital yesterday," the SQUH medics said.
Kept in isolation
Meningitis is a relatively rare infection that affects the delicate membranes — called meninges — that cover the brain and spinal cord. Shahid has been kept in isolation since Monday night at the SQU hospital.
"Ever since he was admitted, the patient is unconscious. Preliminary results point at meningitis. Heavy antibiotics was administered here, suspecting the case as meningitis. His condition is bad, medics said. "If meningitis is confirmed, the Ministry of Health authorities will be informed to take further steps," the medics added.
Shahid is a construction worker and used to work in Muscat.
Meanwhile, a senior official at the Pakistan Embassy told Times of Oman that they are maintaining a close contact with the hospital authorities and are following up the case seriously.
"If meningitis is confirmed, we will cooperate with the ministry to screen his friends also," the embassy official said.
"We suspect that the delay in availing treatment for Shahid might have worsened his state," the embassy official added.
According to Shahid's friends, his case is a perfect example that when troubles come, they come together, especially if you are poor. "A few weeks ago, Shahid became a victim of medical negligence in a clinic where he had gone to get treatment for cough and cold. After he was discharged from the clinic, his condition aggravated.
"And due to lack of money he couldn't go in for advance treatment. On top of that, when he planned to fly back home, the airlines denied permission citing his health condition," Khalid Sha, a close friend of Shahid, said.
Talking to Times of Oman, the airlines officials said, denying permission to a sick passenger is a general practice followed by the airlines globally.
"If a passenger is suffering from any kind of ailment, we require a certificate from the doctor stating that the passenger's health condition is okay and he is fit to fly. Otherwise, we don't allow any sick passenger to board the flight," an official from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said.
Shahid was supposed to fly on a PIA flight back to Pakistan.
"After the airlines denied permission to fly, we were worried and clueless about what to do. In between, his resident card also expired a few days back. Citing him as an undocumented person, the private hospitals kept denying admission and treatment. We were trying out all the options to save him," Shahid's friends said.
"For the last three weeks, every breath was a gasp of air for us. We were afraid that Shahid will end up dying in our hands. But late on Sunday night, we had him admitted to the Sultan Qaboos University hospital with the help of the Pakistan Embassy in Muscat and some kind-hearted community people," Khalid Sha, a close friend who was worried over Shahid's pathetic condition, told the Times of Oman.
"Now, we are praying for him," Khalid said. Meanwhile, the embassy officials are trying to solve his undocumented status and raise funds for Shahid's treatment with the help of the community.
According to government data, there are 219,516 Pakistani workers till end of May and majority of them are blue-collar workers.
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