Dubai: A Filipino technician said he suffered extreme trauma when an intravenous injection went wrong at a private hospital and he had to undergo immediate surgery to save his hand.

Richard Velasco, who has 18 stitches in his right forearm after the incident, has filed a complaint with the Dubai Health Authority against Zulekha Hospital, alleging there had been medical negligence as the doctor did not first check if he had any allergies.

The 31-year-old had gone to the hospital for a check-up as he feared he had high blood pressure and he was also suffering from a migraine. The doctor after asking him to get his blood and urine tested also advised him to get a CT (computed tomography) angiogram done to check his kidneys.

A CT scan is done by special X-ray equipment which captures pictures of major blood vessels to help doctors diagnose and treat conditions. To get a clearer pictures of the vessels a special dye is first injected into a vein.

Shooting pain

Velasco said he was lying in the CT scan when the dye was injected. "Within minutes there was shooting pain in my arm. It ballooned up to double its size and my skin stretched tightly," he said. Immediately a group of doctors was at his side. Doctors advised his wife that he would have to be operated on to drain the dye that leaked out of the vein. She was told he had to undergo surgery to save his hand.

The hospital has denied the allegation that the incident was an allergic reaction and says it was a leakage of the intravenous fluid into the surrounding tissues.

Dr Syed Mujtaba Hussain, director of administration at the Hospital told Gulf News that is was probably due to Velasco moving his hand while the procedure was under way. Velasco denies moving his hand.

He showed his arm which was still a bit swollen and he had 18 stitches around his forearm from where the dye was drained. Velasco said he has experienced anxiety and emotional stress due to this experience.

Dr Hussain said standard protocol was followed. "Please note that this was not an allergic reaction," he said, calling it "extravasation of contrast". In simpler terms it means the dye escaped from the vessel.

"All the relevant details were explained to him and consent was taken prior to the procedure," said the doctor.

"The problem was immediately noted and appropriate treatment was given, he said. "Extravasation of fluid after IV cannulation can occur in routine medical practice, which is documented in medical literature," he said.

The DHA acknowledged receiving the complaint and told Gulf News that the matter is being investigated.

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