A family are raising money to pay for lifesaving medical bills after their father contracted COVID-19 as a doctor in Oman.

Mariya, 34, and Sidra Syed, 27, started fundraising after their father contracted the virus in late-March while working on hospital wards in the Middle East.

The sisters, based in Twickenham and Ealing, are unable to reach their father, Dr Syed, while the state's borders remain closed and are struggling to pay mounting medical fees.

Sidra Syed in happier times

Sidra Syed in happier times

The 59-year-old has spent over a month in various ICUs which has already amounted to a £30,000 hospital bill.

The siblings noticed their father was struggling to breath in a video call in March and had to rush to organise emergency healthcare remotely.

In another terrible twist of fate, they discovered their mother, Atiya, contracted the virus at the same time, and is undergoing treatment in home quarantine in Mumbai, India.

They described the fallout as “a hellish few weeks.”

“Our father’s disease progressed rapidly and became very severe. His lungs have taken a beating and there’s lots of scarring.

“Being on the front line until the virus made him sick, he has spent decades saving people and now finds himself alone, really scared, weak and has no family physically by his side,” said Mariya.

Dr Syed has needed intubated ventilation for most of his time in ICU, this is a very expensive treatment where patients have tubes into their lungs to pump the oxygen.

They have to be sedated throughout the course of this treatment as movement can pose a severe risk. 

The sisters hope that their fundraiser, on website Gofundme.com, can help contribute towards the life-saving costs of his treatment.

“We never imagined to find ourselves in the situation we have found ourselves in today let alone asking for financial support.

“The Omani currency is much stronger and the total expense (only an estimation) is likely to be at least £40,000.

“The accounts team at the hospital Badr Al Samaa in Sohar, Oman rings us five times daily,” added Mariya.

You can find out more, or donate to their fundraiser, here.