Nanny is out of coma and back home

A nanny who suffered severe brain injuries in a car crash that killed three of her employer's children returns home.

ABU DHABI. 1st Juy. 2009. TRIPLE ROAD DEATH. Floral tributes left on the central reservation on Airport Road outside Carrefour, Abu Dhabi last night(weds). Stephen Lock  /  The National .  *** Local Caption ***  SL-flowers-001.jpg
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ABU DHABI // An Indonesian nanny who suffered severe brain injuries in a road accident that killed three of her Emirati employer's children has returned home to continue her treatment after seven months in an Abu Dhabi hospital.

The nanny, NP, 24, took an Etihad Airways flight to Jakarta last week. She was on a stretcher and accompanied by a nurse from the hospital and Lely Meiliani, the first secretary at the Indonesian embassy. The woman was treated at Zayed Military Hospital after a car hit her and the children near the Carrefour supermarket on Airport Road on June 29. She had worked for the family for 18 months. The deaths of the three children Shaikha Salem al Mansouri, four, and her sisters Damayer, six, and Mariam, seven sparked The National's Road to Safety campaign.

In December, embassy officials said that there was no hope for the woman to recover and they planned to bring two of her relatives to Abu Dhabi as a humanitarian gesture. They had earlier feared that the transfer, which would require an eight-hour flight involving changes in air pressure and temperature, could put the patient at risk of further impairment. "Now she's getting better," said Hannan Hadi, the head of the consular section at the embassy.

"She's out of the coma and she could understand what we tell her. She cannot speak yet, but when asked simple questions, she communicated to us by blinking her eyes for 'no' and moving her head for 'yes'." The embassy officials decided to repatriate NP to Indonesia, where she will be treated at Polri Hospital in Jakarta at the Indonesian government's expense. "This is a less-expensive option than transferring her to a private hospital here in Abu Dhabi," Mr Hadi said.

Ms Meiliani said the latest medical report issued by the hospital showed that NP was declared fit to travel. "It's ideal for her to continue her treatment in Jakarta so she could be near her relatives," she said. "At the moment, we are not sure whether she will be transferred again to her region, which is central Java." Mr Hadi said the embassy was not expecting NP to recover fully. "The doctor had said that it was unlikely that she would return to her normal condition, even after being out of the coma," he said.

He said the police and courts permitted the embassy to repatriate the woman but she had yet to receive compensation after the accident. The driver of the car, an Emirati man, was arrested in connection with the accident. "In August or September, we received a report from the public prosecution that he was sentenced to three months and he paid Dh300,000 (US$81,677) in blood money to the family of the three girls," he said. "But we are only pursuing the civil aspect of this case."

The civil case against the driver had to continue even after NP had been sent home, he said. "Once we obtain the special power of attorney from her relatives in Indonesia, we will open a civil case and hire a lawyer to represent her in court," he said. Mr Hadi said NP's former Emirati employer, Salem al Mansouri, was "very co-operative and helpful". "He personally ensured that her visa was cancelled and sent all her belongings to the embassy," he said.

Two other Indonesian nannies, aged 22 and 24, who suffered minor injuries in the accident, are still working for their Emirati employer. Last July, The National launched a campaign to make the UAE's roads safer. The campaign sought to analyse the causes of the UAE's high traffic mortality rates and to bring about changes that protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Various embassy officials in Abu Dhabi said careless driving, an ignorance of local rules and being in a hurry all contributed to the hundreds of expatriate deaths each year on the UAE's roads.