The family of a doctor left paralysed after catching coronavirus may be forced out of the UK as he fights for his life in intensive care.
Egyptian locum Dr Basem Enany, 44, looked after hundreds of Covid-19 patients while working on the frontline of the pandemic in England.
The consultant cardiologist is now on a ventilator after catching the virus and developing a rare complication seen only in 31 other cases across the world.
His work visa will expire at the end of November, meaning his wife and four daughters could be deported as he remains in hospital.
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The family’s MP Rachael Maskell has written to the Home Office to ask about the family’s situation but has received no reply.
Speaking to The Guardian, Enany’s wife, who has been banned from visiting him in hospital, said the whole situation was ‘like a bad dream’.
Mrs Enany said: ‘My husband is young and very talented. We never thought we would face something like this.
‘He loves his work so much. Even when he first got Covid he was working online from home on his emails and looking at his referrals. He is a very dedicated doctor.
‘Before this happened our lives were smooth and easy and stable. Our four daughters are very well settled here. All of them love school and are happy here.’
The medic worked for months on Covid-19 wards at York Hospital before developing symptoms himself while on annual leave in September.
He was ‘completely fit and healthy’ before catching the virus but developed a weakness in both legs after being diagnosed.
Dr Enany’s condition deteriorated into a progressive paralysis that spread to his arms and then his respiratory muscles.
He was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare complication of some viruses, and put on a ventilator at Leeds General Infirmary a fortnight ago.
Although his brain remains functional, he is unable to move his arms and legs or breathe without assistance.
Friends of the ‘devoted husband and a loving father’ have started a GoFundMe campaign to secure legal advice that will help them stay in the country on compassionate grounds.
His colleague at York Hospital, Dr Sanjay Gupta, said: ‘He came to this country to help and now he is in a terrible situation. It’s just horrible what’s happened to him and we all just want to do everything we can to help.’
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He added: ‘Basem’s current status is that he is stable but still critically unwell. There is a chance that he may be able to regain the ability to breathe without support and gain function of his limbs but there is also a high chance that he may not make it, or be left with permanent disability.
‘What is certain is that he will spend several months in intensive care and will not be able to go back to the profession that he loved so dearly for several months or even years.
‘As a friend and colleague, I feel both heartbroken and helpless. Whilst I am worried about Basem, I am equally worried about the future for his wife and daughters.’
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Dr Enany is here entirely legally and has every right to remain in the UK. Our thoughts are with his family, and we will be urgently contacting them and his employer so we can help at this difficult time.
‘Health and social care professionals from all over the world play a vital role in hospitals and care homes across the UK and we are hugely grateful.’
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