Dubai: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is looking into a complaint filed by a Dubai expatriate whose young wife died during a hip replacement surgery at a private hospital in Dubai on May 9.
The hospital has also launched an “independent review” into the case.
In a statement to Gulf News, Dr Marwan Al Mulla, CEO of Health Regulation sector at the DHA, said: “The case is currently under investigation. The DHA looks into every single case of alleged negligence and/or malpractice stringently. The Health Regulation Sector follows due process in line with international standards to investigate such cases, where a committee of subject matter experts is formed to investigate the case. Deemed action is taken according to the merit of each case.”
The case is currently under investigation. The DHA looks into every single case of alleged negligence and/or malpractice stringently.
Gulf News has learnt that Betty Rita Fernandes, 42, had a congenital issue and her hip was slightly displaced when she was born.
According to her family, she decided to go in for a hip replacement surgery under Dr Samih Tarabichi, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Al Zahra Hospital, Al Barsha, Dubai.
On the morning of Thursday, May 9, Fernandes, a mother of teenage boy and girl, was admitted for the two-hour left hip replacement surgery.
A family member said Fernandes went through pre-surgery checks and had cleared those.
However, during surgery she developed complications and her family was asked for a consent for a second surgery with a vascular and general surgeon after the woman had internal bleeding in the pelvic area.
The patient’s family was informed that some kind of packing was placed in the pelvis area to reduce the bleeding after which the patient was to be moved to the ICU and in transit a CT scan was to be carried out.
However, soon after, Fernandes died in the operating theatre at about 5pm, nearly eight hours after she was first wheeled inside the operating room.
When contacted, Dr Mohayem Abdelghany Chief Executive Officer of Al Zahra Hospital [Dubai] said: “We extend our deepest condolences and support to the family of the deceased.
"We are conducting a multi-level independent review of the case as per our hospital policy, the DHA policy and the Joint Commission International (JCI) the international body for patient safety accreditation.
"After we have ascertained the facts, we will notify the police, the forensics, the DHA and the JCI all facts transparently and they will conduct their independent review as per requirement of clinical governance in case of such unexpected outcomes.”
How surgery turns fatal
Dr Sanjay Sureen, specialist orthopaedic surgeon, Prime Hospital, said: “Hip replacement is an elective surgery where a patient chooses to have the hip replaced and, therefore, not an emergency surgery — unless the patient is too old or in cases of trauma where the hip may have been damaged. Only in cases where the patient is very old or has co-morbidities, the recovery would be slow or with risks.”
The risk factors in hip replacement are very low. Sometimes, the hip may be arthritic or the bone may have worn off and become very thin. A full bone scan before the surgery gives the surgeon a good idea of the anatomical variations to the bones and underlying blood vessels.
Dr Sureen explained that usually in a hip replacement surgery, the patient is called in for pre-operative risk assessment to assess the nature of risk if at all there is room for it.
“The risk factors in hip replacement are very low. Sometimes, the hip may be arthritic or the bone may have worn off and become very thin. A full bone scan before the surgery gives the surgeon a good idea of the anatomical variations to the bones and underlying blood vessels. If the bone is deficient or there is risk of rupture of underlying blood vessels, such scans give the surgeon a fair assessment of how to proceed.”
However, he added that if a patient dies during the surgery, there could be a possibility of the rupture of inter-illiac vein which lies behind the hip bone. In cases where the bone may be too thin, the surgeon may make a hole in the bone to hold the implant. In such an eventuality, there is a chance of a neuro vascular injury that may lead to bleeding which is difficult to stem.”
Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary, Senior Reporter