Bhubaneswar, Dec. 3: The successful treatment of an Iraqi national suffering from a rare skull base disease at the SUM Ultimate Medicare (SUMUM) here has opened possibilities of medical tourism in Odisha in view of the expertise, quality of treatment, advanced medical infrastructure and facilities available in the hospital.

The family of 77-year-old Hassoon Owaid Oglah al-Shadawi, who had been diagnosed with Central Skull Base Osteomyelitis in Iraq, had been exploring the possibility of treatment in India as the treatment was not available in their own country.

After searching for the best possible treatment options in India, the family zeroed in on SUM Ultimate Medicare here and decided to fly the patient to Bhubaneswar for further management of the illness. After consulting Dr. Radhamadhab Sahu, Senior Consultant and Head of department of ENT and Skull Base Surgery in the hospital, they arrived in Bhubaneswar.

The patient was received at the airport by the hospital team and admitted into SUMUM. After few key investigations, the diagnosis made in Iraq was reconfirmed and an elective lateral skull base surgery was planned to save his life, Dr. Sahu said.

Though difficult, the major surgery was conducted on al-Shadawi with neuro-anesthesist Dr. Prasant Behera playing a vital role. Dr. Abhijit Raha, Senior Consultant, Critical Care Medicine, extended his support during the surgery and in ensuring patient’s recovery in the ICU. The patient was discharged from the hospital after eight days.

Dr. Sahu said central skull base osteomyelitis was an uncommon disease which usually started from an ear infection involving the temporal bone and later spread through the vessels in the bone marrow. “It subsequently leads to infection of sphenoid bone, occipital bone and the clivus. This may occur due to bacteria or fungus mostly in persons with uncontrolled diabetes, immune-compromised and post Covid patients,” he said adding it involved the cranial nerves and needed to be diagnosed as soon as possible. “If left untreated it could lead to significant morbidity and  mortality,” he said.

The Iraqi patient was first infected by the Covid-19 virus from which he recovered, but subsequently developed an ear infection which led to his condition, Dr. Sahu said.

Speaking through an interpreter, al-Shadawi’s son Salman Hasoon Owaid said: “We got very good treatment in this hospital as the doctors and medical staff worked with a professional approach. We witnessed ethical treatment here with a humanitarian and compassionate touch.”

Dr. Swetapadma Dash, Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, said people in Odisha used to go out of state earlier for specialized treatment. Of the 6.9 lakh foreign patients who came to India for medical care in 2019, most chose to go to Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. None of them had come to Odisha. “Possibly this is for the first time that a patient from another country has come to our state for specialized medical treatment. It is a big thing for us that this patient came to SUMUM on a medical visa,” she said.

Dr. Dash said it was the dream of SOA Founder President Prof. (Dr.) Manojranjan Nayak to make available world class health care in Bhubaneswar and the entire team of SUMUM is engaged in transforming this vision into reality. Dr. Sahu did the surgery confidently and successfully, she said adding “it spoke volumes about our capacity and competence.”

“We have set our eye on adding more successful pages to this new chapter of medical tourism heralded by SUM Ultimate Medicare in Bhubaneswar,” she said.

SUMUM, she said, was actually constructing a separate wing to house international patients with all needed facilities to provide a boost to medical tourism. “We are constantly pushing the boundaries of health care and redefining what is and isn’t possible. With the successful treatment of an international patient, we have unveiled a new chapter and I am sure with our advanced medical infrastructure, expertise in over 30 medical specialties, vigorous progress, accreditation, latest medical technology in a warm, comfortable, family focused environment, we can provide excellent medical care and harness Bhubaneswar’s potential as a medical and wellness tourism destination,” she said.

The platform now had been set for focusing on medical tourism in a state known for its heritage and tourism potential as the concept was yet to catch the imagination of the people. Medical tourism for foreign patients could unlock many opportunities in future. In this background, SUM Ultimate Medicare in Bhubaneswar is one of the best quaternary care hospitals in Odisha which is equipped with all ultra modern health care facilities and boasted of experienced doctors and medical professionals.

The advantages of medical treatment in Odisha included reduced cost, availability of latest medical technologies and compliance of international standards, Dr. Sahu said adding it would not only benefit the healthcare fraternity in the state but would also help in propagation of the state’s culture and tourism potential in other countries.

“SUMUM has everything to offer the patients required and we are sure Bhubaneswar will find a place as a reputed medical tourism destination in the days to come,” Brig. (Dr.) Biraj Mohan Mishra, SUMUM’s Chief of Medical Services, said.

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