20-year-old Indian woman in UAE diagnosed with rare disease

Abu Dhabi: A 20-year-old Indian woman in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been diagnosed with a rare medical disorder, leaving her on ventilator support for the last six months, the media reported.

Autoimmune encephalitis

Neethu Shaji Panikker, who was visiting her husband in Sharjah in late January, was diagnosed with autoimmune encephalitis in March, according to the Khaleej Times.

The disease refers to a group of conditions that occur when the immune system attacks healthy brain cells, leading to inflammation of the brain.

“We were told by doctors that people with autoimmune encephalitis may have various neurologic and psychiatric symptoms. My daughter has all such symptoms,” said the woman’s mother, Bindu Lalitha.

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Panikker was referred to the Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in Abu Dhabi as her condition worsened. By March 27, she was on ventilator and has been there ever since, reported the daily on Saturday.

Panikker’s mother

“I worked odd, menial jobs to raise my kids after coming to the UAE 10 years ago. My daughter was married in December last year to Jithin, who works in Sharjah. She came to the UAE on a visit visa in late January and got ill by March 17,” said Lalitha.

The 40-year-old mother of Panikker currently works at a tailoring shop and says that she struggled hard to raise her two kids after her husband abandoned them.

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“The doctors at the hospital have done so much for us. I can never stop thanking them,” Lalitha said.

Panikker is in no condition to travel, still her mother hopes to take her back home to India to provide her with care.

“The hospital has provided us with counselling on how to care for her after discharge,” said Lalitha.

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