Iraqi soldier Hayder Adnan Abdul Hameed Al Jadir, 29, is recovering at a Delhi hospital after undergoing surgery to repair his left arm. The arm was amputated after a blast about two months ago in his home country.
Hayder is one of 45 soldiers from Iraq operated upon by Dr Sunil Choudhary, senior director and chief of plastic surgery at Max Healthcare in Saket, in the past year.
“We see a lot of patients from war-torn regions. Earlier, we used to get blast and gunshot wound victims through the ministry of health in Iraq, but now many of them also come to us privately,” said Dr Choudhary.
India has emerged as a preferred destination for such patients because of the relatively low cost of treatment and hassle-free visa approval. “People from Iraq don’t get visas easily anywhere in the world, which could be a reason apart from the quality of treatment at cheaper rates,” he said.
Most of these patients suffer similar injuries wherein either there is amputation or they have sustained severe burns and require reconstruction.
Hayder’s forearm had got detached, and was repaired in a 12-hour surgery performed on February 28. Though American surgeons in Iraq had replanted the arm, there was no movement left in the limb.
“It was a lifeless limb and we had to perform the surgery under microscope to restore nerves, muscles and bones, all of which had suffered loss. The nerves could be as minute as .8mm in diameter,” said Dr Choudhary.
Hayder is happy with the treatment. “A few of my friends were treated by Dr Choudhary and were quite happy with the quality of treatment, which is why I chose to come here,” said Hayder.
Dr Kuldeep Singh, senior consultant from the department of plastic surgery at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, says, “India doesn’t just offer treatment to patients coming from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, but treats them with dignity, respect and friendliness.”
Apollo gets about 15-20 blast victims in a year. A group of Nepalese guards who were victims of a blast en route the Canadian embassy in Kabul last year were also flown to India and treated at Apollo.
“I treated three of them, who had suffered shrapnel injuries. These war zones are fertile grounds for blast injuries and we have been regularly getting patients from there,” said Dr Singh.