Ahmet Demiray, a Turkish cancer patient who lives in the central German city of Kassel, was extended a lifeline by Turkey after he complained about the health care in the European country. Answering his call, Demiray was brought to Istanbul for treatment early Friday by an air ambulance sent by Turkey's Health Ministry.
The plane carrying Demiray landed at Atatürk Airport at 12:30 a.m. (9:30 p.m. GMT Thursday) and he was then taken to a private hospital where he will be treated.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Demiray's daughter, Reyhan, said they petitioned the Turkish Consulate General in Frankfurt to be transferred to Turkey since her 64-year-old father was not receiving adequate treatment in Germany.
"On the 23rd of January, my dad fell seriously ill at home, so I called the paramedics. After the examinations, they tried to get rid of us by saying 'We should not take him to the hospital if it is fine for you, but you can take him to your own family doctor,’” she said.
She added that upon their insistence he was hospitalized, however, in Germany you can't choose which hospital you will be treated at and the hospital where her father was placed failed to properly treat him.
Their family doctor informed Reyhan that her father has cancer and that the only cure is surgery. "You wanted to take your father to Turkiye. And where would you like your father to die?" he had said, using another name for Turkey. She thanked the Turkish authorities for transporting her father to Turkey.
"I am going to my homeland. May Allah not put anyone in the care of those (health care staff in Germany). I am grateful to the President, Health Minister and everyone involved and pray for them. My state saved me from them," Demiray told AA prior to his flight to Istanbul, adding that he suffered a lot at the hospital.
"They always delayed my care. Nurses would attend to me sometimes 15 minutes after I called them. I felt great pain. Once, they tried to draw blood but failed in four attempts. The staff was inexperienced and only managed to draw blood after a doctor showed up," he said.
Demiray said he would sue the hospital if the surgical procedure he underwent was recorded on camera. His daughter said doctors first thought her father had an ulcer but later told them he most likely had cancer after finding a tumor in his liver. She said doctors placed drains to remove bile build-up but it was very painful as they implanted one without anesthesia or sedatives.
Turkey offers air ambulances free of charge to its citizens all across the world. Ambulances transfer patients to Turkish hospitals upon requests by patients themselves or their families, mostly for emergency cases. Earlier this week, a young woman on life support was airlifted to Istanbul from the Netherlands, days before Dutch doctors' planned to pull the plug.