Stroke Victim Trapped in UAE Four YEARS Because of Debts

4CB1ED2300000578-0-image-a-23_1527502369472Malcolm Munroe, from Manchester in UK, built a thriving construction company in Dubai. In 2013, he suffered a stroke, and was hospitalised at Rashid Hospital. He was immobile, and breathing through an oxygen tube. Because he couldn’t work, his business went bust owing debts. The Dubai courts sentenced him to a three-year jail sentence. He didn’t go to prison, because he needed around-the-clock care in hospital. But neither could he service his debt. He was trapped in Dubai.

Finally Home

The kindness of others led to him finally coming home. A healthcare volunteer in Dubai spent over a year communicating with Mr Munroe’s debtors, to explain his situation and beg for his debts to be forgiven. Another medic from Manchester arranged for Mr Munroe’s return to the UK, and thousands of pounds was donated by well-wishers via a crowdfunding site to cover costs. His family finally welcomed him ‘home’ (the Salford Royal Hospital) in May 2018, where he remains (as at June 2018) under twenty-four-hour care.
This story is simultaneously sad, shocking and heart-warming. Mr Munroe is aged over seventy, and for such a medical emergency to happen at any time is bad, but to be stuck thousands of miles from home is especially sad. Life must have been stressful and difficult for all of them. To see friends, family, and strangers rally together to bring about Mr Munroe’s return to the UK is truly wonderful; it’s inspirational to know that there are such people in this world.

Tragedies can happen to anyone

I do not criticise the country in which I myself live, but there may be some points of learning in Mr Munroe’s story, which could be helpful to others.

Things Work Differently Here

When we are guests in a foreign land, we have little right to pass judgement on the societal rules, social norms, culture, or laws of the country where we live. Whether we think the rules are good, bad, right or wrong – it is our choice to be here.
With the excitement and sense of adventure that comes with moving abroad to live and work, it is easy to take for granted some of the privileges we have at home. The healthcare system. The legal framework. Media freedoms. Driving standards. Food hygiene. (There’s plenty more, including, dare I say it, financial regulations!)

Be prepared for when things go wrong

We need to respect the way of life in our adopted home. We must understand the rules, stay within the lines, and prepare for the possibility that something might go wrong despite our best efforts.

What you MUST do TODAY if you live in UAE

  • Firstly, you should check the limits on your health insurance. Employers in Dubai are legally obliged to provide medical cover for their staff, but this is for basic needs only, and the annual limit can be capped as low as AED 150,000. That’s not enough to cover many types of treatment in a quality hospital, and is unlikely to cover your repatriation in an emergency.
  • Next, assess your needs for critical illness cover. If you have debts that would be difficult to pay off if you become unable to work, you absolutely need critical illness cover (and a minimum of permanent disability insurance), because defaulting on debt can lead to criminal penalties in UAE.
  • Finally, if you are a business owner, examine your firm’s need for ‘key man’ insurance. This is an insurance policy taken out by the business to compensate for financial losses that might arise from the death or extended incapacity of an important member of the business (which might be you).
In closing, this is a sensitive topic and highly personal and emotive to those involved. I struggled for a long time before deciding to post this article. In the end I decided that presenting a real human situation is the most powerful way to help people realise that we need to take action personally.

I have been in touch with the family and made a small private donation.

Popular Posts

How to Read a Fund Fact-Sheet

Understanding Compound and Annualised Growth

Tax Free Savings Plans for Australians?

British Expat? Here are the Huge UK Tax Benefits of an Offshore Investment Plan...

Mobile Phone Screens Are Getting SMALLER!

How to Manage Currency Risk in your Investment Portfolio

Should UK Expats Pay National Insurance Contributions?

Dollar Cost Averaging