Dubai: A plastic surgeon lost his legal battle before Dubai's highest court as it stood by a recent ruling holding him liable for a housewife's death following a botched surgery.

The Dubai Cassation Court rejected the appeal of F.J., an American national, and upheld the charge that his negligence caused the Emirati woman's death. The 50-year-old died after lapsing into a coma that lasted seven months.

Presiding Judge Mohammad Nabeel Riyadh upheld the appellate judgment that set out a Dh20,000 fine for F.J., 51.

F.J. and the 44-year-old Syrian director of the hospital where the Emirati was operated were also ordered to jointly pay Dh200,000 in blood money to the parents of the deceased.

Court records said the plastic surgeon and hospital director were liable for causing the 50-year-old's death in light of medical malpractice and negligence.

An Iraqi female general anaesthetist, 43, was however cleared of any responsibility in the case.

Prosecutors had accused the plastic surgeon, anaesthetist and the hospital director of malpractice and negligence that led to the woman's death following the surgery to smooth wrinkles on her neck and eyelids.

Abdul Moneim Bin Suwaidan, counsel for the anaesthetist, had contended before the appellate court earlier that his client had not in any way contributed to the terrible outcome of the surgery.

"Her role was limited during the plastic surgery. Witnesses testified before the court that my client gave the victim a medication to stabilise her blood pressure and the situation went under control thereafter. The responsibility does not fall on the anaesthesiologist; a doctor who performs a surgery is the one who gives the go-ahead to carry out the operation and not the anaesthesiologist," Bin Suwaidan said.

All three defendants had pleaded not guilty.

Basic checks ignored

Prosecutors said the surgeon was supposed to conduct basic checks to assess his patient's vital signs in addition to a chest and cardiac examination during her repeated visits to his clinic prior to the plastic surgery.

The operation was not urgent, according to prosecution records, and it would not have caused any damage if it had been postponed. Prosecutor Shoaib Ali Ahli said the woman's blood pressure was high prior to the surgery and, despite knowing her condition, the surgeon failed to check on her following the surgery. Ahli charged the anaesthetist with medical negligence for not paying due attention to a hypertensive patient.

Court records showed that when the anaesthetist checked the woman's blood pressure, she failed to get a reading for the purpose of administering anaesthesia.

Preliminary probe

Preliminary investigations revealed that the director failed to arrange for specialised doctors round the clock to closely observe and follow up on the woman's case after the surgery. The suspects also failed to provide the required post-surgical emergency medical care and intensive care, particularly after the patient lapsed into a coma.

The Cassation Court's judgment is irrevocable.