Indian expat Salman Khan, 29, has been staying with his maternal aunt Habibabi from 2013 since he came to Dubai and picked up a job. Both of them are from Mumbai, India.
On May 11, 2020, Habibabi got up to pray the special night prayer (tahajjud prayer) at around 3am and was performing ablution in the washroom when she suffered a stroke and collapsed in the washroom. She was rushed to a private hospital, where her current bill has crossed Dh200,000.
Recalling what happened on the fateful night of her fall, Khan said: "When I went up to go to the washroom at around 3.30am, I found her lying on the floor. She was shivering and not responding. I called the ambulance and since she had no medical insurance, I told the ambulance staff to take us to a government hospital only as we will not be able to afford private hospital treatment. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the closest government hospitals did not have beds for any non-covid-19 patients and we were taken to a private hospital in Dubai Healthcare City where the doctors had to perform a brain surgery immediately. She was critical and they had to do undertake this procedure and tests to save her life," said Salman, who works at a courier company and earns a meagre salary barely enough to pay their rent and daily needs.
Salman said Habibabi, who was a diabetic and suffering from hypertension, was looking to get some reasonable medical insurance but since she was a senior citizen, prices of even basic health plan quoted to her by insurance companies were too high for her to afford.
Khan is now worried about the huge Dh200,000 hospital bill that he has been asked to pay.