190909 coma surgery
Emirati Rowdha Abdulla Al Maeeni at a Chicago hospital last year Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: “Nothing can compensate for what has happened to her,” Dubai-based Rashid Al Maeeni told Gulf News on Tuesday, hours after a Dubai court delivered the final verdict in a botched nose surgery case involving his sister Rowdha Al Maeeni.

The court upheld a one-year prison sentence for two doctors and a hospital technician along with a temporary compensation of Dh51,000. In addition, day care centre where the botched surgery was carried out had been issued a fine of Dh300,000.

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It may be recalled that on April 23, 2019, Rawdha, then, a 24-year-old first year Master’s student in hospital management, had checked into a day care centre to undergo a septoplasty. However, the centre was found to lack the Advanced Cardiac Care Life Support System (ALCS) and she suffered a seizure, following which she could not be revived. Her brain was deprived of oxygen for a full seven minutes, after which she went into a vegetative state.

The victim is the second sibling in a family of five children. Rashid said: “Nothing will ever be good enough as my sister has been reduced to a vegetative state. It broke our hearts and our life as a family has changed forever. My sister is not in a coma as reported by the press but is in a strange place like in a limbo. She is not capable of a single independent function and has to be assisted. Her eyes are open and sometimes she turns her head but she does not respond.”

24/7 care needed

Describing the ordeal that the family faces every day, he said: “Rawdha requires 24/7 care. Her position has to be changed every two hours, she undergoes terrible muscle contractions and is in pain. We try to soothe her and family members take turns in getting to move her limbs with some basic physiotherapy exercises. She is fed through a tube. My younger sister, who is only 16 and is a minor, has grown up overnight taking care of Rowdha like a mother, washing and cleaning her and constantly caring for her.

Rashid said the family had no time to discuss the case with the lawyer on account of their tight schedules with Rowdha. “Our lives changed irrevocably after this incident. As a family, we will be paying for the mistakes of these doctors for our entire life. We do not know what the future holds for us. The judgement gives us no relief, but we have accepted it,” he added.