NAT 200120  Rowda Almaeeni-1579521191326
Emirati girl Rowdah Abdulla Al Maini who is in coma at a Chicago hospital following the botched nose job. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A medic who conducted a nose-job that left an Emirati woman in a coma pleaded not guilty to negligence and malpractice on the first day of trial at Dubai Court on Monday.

The ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon, anaesthetist and the anaesthetist’s assistant were referred to court for alleged mistakes that led to the permanent disability of 25-year-old Rawdha Abdullah Al Maeeni.

The other two medics failed to show in court to enter their plea and the trial has been adjourned until February 10 to summon them.

The defence lawyer also asked the judge to summon the head of the medical committee to question them on their report that confirms a medical mistake was made during surgery.

Emirati lawyer Eissa bin Haidar, who represents Rawdha said, “The investigation by prosecution looked into all reports to prove the medical mistake. There are several reports in the case by different medical committees which confirms that a serious medical mistake happened.”

Prosecution checked the medical reports and questioned the suspects and the witnesses for several months until the final medical report presented to the investigation team on November 20, 2019, which confirmed that the medical staff committed a medical mistake.

Investigations revealed that the incident happened on April 23, 2019, when Rawdha, a first year master’s student of hospital management, checked into a Dubai cosmetic surgery centre for a rhinoplasty as she had difficulties in breathing.

Prosecution said that the ENT doctor told her that she suffered from septotlasty and he did the surgery in a one-day surgery centre which wasn’t qualified to conduct such surgeries. He did the surgery with the anaesthetist and anaesthetist’s assistant.

The investigation confirmed that medical staff committed a serious medical mistake which resulted in multiple disabilities, according to the medical report by the higher committee for medical responsibility at Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

Rawdha suffered a cardiac arrest on the operating table and the investigative report stated that her brain had been deprived of oxygen for a full seven minutes.

Prosecution said that the medical staff and the centre are responsible for what happened to Rawdha and that the trial would begin soon.

A family spokesperson said the operating theatre had no certification for Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support System (ACLS) and were unable to intervene which led to damage in several vital brain cells, leaving the patient in a coma.

DHA statement

A statement regarding the case issued by the Dubai Health Authority in September, said, “The Dubai Health Authority formed independent investigation committees with subject matter experts who carried out an in-depth medical investigation. The committees carefully considered the role of the surgeon, the anaesthesiologist and other members of the team. Following the investigations, the anaesthesiologist’s license has been suspended until further notice, he is banned from his position as the medical director and we have shut down the operation theatres at the centre. DHA has presented the medical findings of the committees to the Public Prosecution.”

Time line

April 23, 2019: Rawdha Abdulla Al Maeeni checks into a day care surgery centre for a septoplasty. The surgery, which was to last two hours, stretches to six hours and the patient slips into a coma.

April 23 evening: Patient is rushed to Prime Hospital where doctors attempt to revive her.

April 24: Patient airlifted to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi where she remained in intensive care.

June 20: Patient airlifted to a hospital in Chicago, US, for long-term treatment. His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, offered to cover her medical expenses in the US.

November 20: prosecution received final medical report

January 2, 2020: Case referred to Dubai Criminal Court

January 20, 2020: First hearing at Dubai Criminal Court.