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An Emirati patient who was admitted to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi with severe COVID-19 symptoms says he feels ​like he has been given a second chance at life after making a full recovery. 

In April 2020, Mohamed Al Zaabi began experiencing common COVID-19 symptoms, including headaches and fever. Concerned, he went to a hospital, where he was checked over diagnosed with COVID-19. However, as his chest X-rays and further tests came back as normal, he was given medication and sent home to rest in isolation. 

A few days later, his symptoms got worse and he experienced a pain in his chest and persistent coughing that he didn’t feel were getting any better. 

He decided to visit the Emergency Department at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, where he was immediately admitted to a COVID-19 isolation unit.  

Mohamed says, “When I was admitted to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi my symptoms were so severe, I felt like I might not survive. I will never forget the words of the doctor who admitted me. She told me I was in safe hands and not to worry, as everything would be alright.” 

In addition to COVID-19, X-rays revealed that Mohamed had developed pneumonia and his condition worsened. He was then admitted to ICU and put under constant monitoring as his oxygen levels were so low. 

Dr. Mujtaba Ali, Staff Physician within the Medical Subspecialities Institute, and part of the multidisciplinary team who cared for Mohamed warns, “Mohamed’s case demonstrates the severe turn COVID-19 can take in young, otherwise healthy people.

It began as a headache but led to him struggling for breath and unable to get enough oxygen. He was admitted to intensive care for close management and potential ventilation. Happily, we were able to come together as a team to treat his symptoms and support his recovery without the need of a ventilator.”

With no cure for COVID-19, Mohamed’s care team developed a plan to treat the symptoms caused by the virus. They turned to a new and promising treatment which targets the severe lung inflammation that was present in Mohamed’s lungs, using monoclonal antibodies. This novel treatment works to suppress the body’s natural immune response from attacking healthy cells instead of the virus. 

“Thanks to this novel approach, his condition improved after just one treatment,” says Dr. Maher Balkis, an Infectious Disease Physician within the Medical Subspecialties Institute.

Over time, thanks to the care provided by his medical teams, and due to the fact that he was admitted at the right time, and received the right treatment, Mohamed made a full recovery. Following two negative COVID-19 tests, he was officially declared recovered and was able to be discharged from hospital.

Mohamed says, “I feel like I have got my life back! At Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, they cared for me from day one, and I am proud that the UAE is home to such a hospital. I am so thankful for them and for the leadership of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.

“From the moment I arrived until the moment I left, the care and support they provided me with made me feel like I was a part of their family. The doctors and nurses were always there for me, each one caring and helping me day and night. We are all the same here, expatriates, visitors and local – we are in safe hands” 

Today, Mohamed is in good health and COVID-19 free. 

He reflects, “Our health should always remain our priority, above everything else.”  

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