An Egyptian NHS doctor who became critically ill after complications from contracting Covid-19 has spoken about his fears of being removed from the UK by the Home Office while he lay in his hospital bed on a ventilator.
Dr Basem Enany was a locum consultant cardiologist working at York teaching hospital and has treated many Covid-19 patients himself.
He was placed on a ventilator after he developed a rare complication of Covid-19 and other viruses, known as Guillain-Barre syndrome. The condition left him partially paralysed.
He can now breathe unaided, but he is expected to have a long rehabilitation journey ahead of him.
Dr. Enany said:
“At first I had the usual symptoms of Covid – cough, fever, loss of taste and smell – but then I began to develop a weakness throughout my body. Then I was no longer able to move and couldn’t breathe properly.” he said. “I had never seen this happen in any of the Covid patients I had treated and had to research my symptoms as they were so unusual.”
Dr. Enany is currently living on a work visa which is due to expire in December. He and his wife, Marwa Mohamed, believe they and their four young daughters could face removal from the UK, given that it is unlikely that Mr Enany will be well enough to renew the visa before December.
Enany has regained partial use of his hands, but his legs remain paralysed as he waits to be moved from Leeds general infirmary to a specialist neuro-rehabilitation facility.
“I was not sedated on the ventilator and was lying awake in my hospital bed thinking: ‘Oh my God, my visa is about to finish.”
Mr Enany thanked the thousands of people who have helped to support him. More than 4,000 people donated to a crowdfund that will pay for Enany’s legal and medical bills. Any remaining money will be donated to research into Covid-19 and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
No Plans to Deport Mr Enany
The Home Office has said that there are no plans to deport Enany and his family. However, Enany does not know the kind of replacement visa he will receive, how long it will last for and whether he will be able to work under it.
Mr Enany acknowledged the Home Office’s statement but said that “We still don’t have any solid documents in our hands and my visa will expire soon.”
A spokesperson for the Home Office said:
“We’ve spoken to Dr Enany’s family to reassure them that their immigration status is not in jeopardy and they are not facing enforcement action. They are here entirely legally and have every right to remain the UK. We will continue to work with them to find a way forward. Our thoughts remain with Dr Enany and his family at this difficult time.”
Bill Calls for Indefinite Leave to Remain for NHS Staff
Liberal Democrat MP, Christine Jardine, is calling for Indefinite Leave to Remain to be granted to migrant NHS staff who have cared for patients during the pandemic.
A second reading of the bill will be heard on Friday, where Jardine will argue that NHS workers will be vital during the second wave of the pandemic.
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Basem Enany fell seriously ill after complications from Covid-19. [GoFundMe/PA]
The Home Office have said that Mr Enany will not be deported. [Image credit: Metro]