Dubai: The mother of an Emirati woman, who has been in a coma since April 23 after a botched nose surgery, on Monday said her family is upset over the decision of authorities to allow the doctor who operated on their daughter to resume work in Dubai. “How was he allowed to get back into practice after what happened to their daughter?” she said.
In a phone interview with Gulf News on Monday, Nawal Ramadan, the mother of Rawdha Abdulla Al Maini, spoke from her daughter’s bedside at a Chicago hospital. “It is unfair and a disappointing decision as we pinned all our hopes on the officials. I plan to appeal to the government to intervene in the case.” “Rawdha will turn 25 today,” said the mother, crying. “The DHA [Dubai Health Authority] officials had promised that in the second report of the committee, the name of the surgeon would be deleted. They had promised to restore the rights of my daughter but now they do not even answer our calls,” she said.
The family has launched a hashtag protest on Twitter expressing their disappointment over the return of the ENT surgeon, S.H., to regular practice at a Dubai clinic. On Twitter, the woman’s parents and sisters are using the hashtag “#WhereistherightofRawdah” to seek justice for the victim. Al Maini’s father, Abdulla, tweeted through his Twitter handle @abdallalmaini wrote: “Appeal to His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid [Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai], to form a committee to investigate Rawdah’s case with Dubai Health Authority; how the so-called doctor was granted the maximum speed to resume work without taking into account the feelings of the father and the pain and the family.”
Rawdha, a first year master’s student of hospital management, had checked into a Dubai cosmetic surgery centre for a rhinoplasty on April 23 this year. She suffered a cardiac arrest on the operating table and the investigative report stated that her brain had been deprived of oxygen for a full seven minutes. A family spokesperson said the operating theatre had no certification for Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support System (ACLS) and were unable to intervene which led to damage in several vital brain cells and the patient lapsed into a coma. Following the case, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced the closure of the surgery centre until the case was settled. The case is with the public prosecution now.
The DHA barred the two doctors who conducted the surgeries — ENT surgeon, S.H., and anaesthesia specialist and medical director of the centre, S.D. — from practicing, on account of malpractice. A DHA spokesperson had said that legal action would be taken against all those who risk the lives of patients. However, the ENT surgeon has returned to regular practice in Dubai. On Monday, Gulf News called the clinic and a staff confirmed that the surgeon has been available for consultations and surgery since August.
A family friend of Rawdha, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It is indeed sad that Rawdha, who turns 25 today, lies immobile on a hospital bed. We are so distressed that while the anaesthesiologist S.D. was suspended until the case is decided, the surgeon, S.H., has returned and is continuing to operate on patients. Until the case is decided, this surgeon must not be allowed to operate as it is irresponsible to put other patients through what my friend has suffered. Every day, we pray for a miracle and hope she wakes up.” The friend added that the surgeon was using celebrities to endorse him and make false claims: “When celebrities use social media to endorse the doctor, young, gullible girls begin to believe it is easy to get a new look.”
In the case of Rawdha, the friend said her decision to undergo for surgery on her nose was purely guided by the difficulties she faced in breathing. “This surgeon charged Dh50,000 for Rawdah’s surgery, which in her case was carried out for a polyp blocking one of her nostrils that made it difficult for her to breathe. But see where it has got her.” Meanwhile, Essa Bin Haider, CEO of Bin Haider Advocates and Legal Consultants, who is handling the case for the family told Gulf News: “I am still working on the case, and I will be submitting an objection to the report from the Dubai Health Authority.”
In a statement regarding the case, the Dubai Health Authority has 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.”
*April 23, 2019: Rawdha Abdulla Al Maini 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 remains in intensive care.
*June 20: Patient airlifted to a hospital in Chicago, US, for long-term treatment and has been there since. 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.