Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 November 2020

UAE charity funds prosthetic leg to give shop worker new lease on life

Hashan Ali, from Bangladesh, had his leg amputated after a flesh-eating infection destroyed his muscles

Hashan Ali and his doctors at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The Bangladeshi shop worker was fitted with a prosthetic leg and underwent physiotherapy. Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi
Hashan Ali and his doctors at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The Bangladeshi shop worker was fitted with a prosthetic leg and underwent physiotherapy. Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

A shop worker who had to have his leg amputated was fitted with a prosthetic and had his physiotherapy funded by a UAE charity and members of the community.

Hashan Ali, 32, was admitted to hospital in Al Ain after feeling unwell. Doctors diagnosed a bacterial infection in a heart valve and immediately began treatment.

During his stay, a bacteria-infected blood clot travelled from the heart to his leg, blocking blood flow to the leg. The blockage caused a flesh-eating infection of the muscles, necrotising myositis.

Doctors immediately transferred him to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, where surgeons replaced his infected heart valve, removed the clot from his leg and removed the affected tissue.

My biggest worry was how I would be able to support my family back home if I cannot continue working

Hashan Ali

Despite several treatments to clear the infection and prevent more tissue from dying, it continued to spread. Doctors determined that an amputation would be the only way to save his life and prevent further necrosis.

“I was very scared when my doctor told me that I would need to have my leg amputated," said Mr Ali, whose wife and three children live in Bangladesh and rely on his salary to survive.

"The doctors had tried their best to save my leg and I understood that if they hadn’t removed it, the infection would have spread further. Afterwards, my biggest worry was how I would be able to support my family back home if I cannot continue working.”

The hospital’s vascular surgery team amputated the leg and tried to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible to support a quick recovery.

Hashan Ali and Dr Houssam Younes, a vascular surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi 
Hashan Ali and Dr Houssam Younes, a vascular surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi 

Social workers from the hospital contacted his employer, embassy and local charities in the hope of finding a sponsor for a prosthetic limb so he could return to work.

“Care doesn’t end with medical treatment. Our team is here for patients as they return to their lives following their recovery. In Hashan’s case, the life-saving care he received has left him with significant challenges to overcome. By supporting him through this process, we can help him return to work and continue providing for his family,” said Paul O’Shea, a social worker at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

Members of the UAE’s Bangladeshi community and embassy staff rallied to support him through his recovery. Representatives from the Zakat Initiative visited Mr Ali and said they would cover the cost of a prosthetic leg.

Mr Ali's employer also assured him his job would be waiting for him once he was discharged from hospital.

Once he recovered from surgery, Mr Ali was fitted for a permanent prosthetic and returned to work. He also began a lengthy course of physiotherapy so he can learn to live with and care for his prosthetic leg.

Since making a full recovery, in May, Mr Ali has chosen to return to his family in Bangladesh after years of working in the UAE.

“I am so happy with the help and support Paul and his team have given me during my stay. Thanks to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and the Zakat Fund, I have been able to continue providing for my family," Mr Ali said.

"Now I hope to begin a new chapter of my life at home with my wife and children."

Updated: October 12, 2020 02:04 PM

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