Surgery, generic
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Dubai: Three medics who conducted a botched nose-job surgery that left an Emirati woman in a coma since April have been referred to Dubai Court for medical negligence and malpractice.

Councillor Essam Eisa Al Humaidan, Attorney General of Dubai, ordered that the ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon, anaesthetist and assistant anaesthetist be referred to court for mistakes that led to the permanent disability of 25-year-old Rawdha Abdulla Al Maeeni.

According to Dubai Public Prosecution, an investigation team lead by Prosecutor Younus Al Beloushi, was checking the medical reports and questioned the suspects and the witnesses for several months until the final medical report was presented to the investigation team on November 20, 2019 which confirmed that the medical staff had committed a medical mistake.

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 after she had difficulties breathing through her nose.

Prosecution said that the ENT doctor told her that she suffered from septotlasty, and that 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 the assistant anaesthetist present.

The investigation confirmed that the medical staff committed serious mistakes which resulted multiple disabilities according to the medical report by the Higher Committee for Medical Responsibility at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

She suffered a cardiac arrest on the operating table and the investigative report stated that her brain was 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 date for trial will be set soon.

The family of the victim had even alleged at the time of the surgery that the anaesthetist had stepped out of the operating theatre for a cigarette and a coffee.  

In a phone interview with Gulf News on Thursday, Nawal Mohammad, the mother of Rawdha, described what happened to her daughter as a ‘crime’.

“I wish they punish the medical staff for what they have done to my daughter,” she said. “It is a crime against my daughter not just a medical mistake. Before two days, her doctor told me that there is nothing they can do to her. She is still in a coma,” the mother added.

Rawdha’s family said that she has undergone several operations since the incident but is not responding.

“If we could have transferred her quickly to a hospital then they could have saved her life, but the doctor was laughing at us and saying that she is fine despite me asking him to take her to a hospital because we felt something suspicious had happened during the surgery.”

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

DHA statement  

In a statement regarding the case issued in September, the Dubai Health Authority, said: “This case is under investigation in Public Prosecution and Dubai Courts. In line with the UAE Federal Medical Liability Law, 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 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 the final medical report

January 2,2020: Case referred to Dubai Criminal Court