Dubai private hospital to pay Dh2 million for medical malpractice

Female patient suffered irreversible nerve damage as a result of a procedure she did not need

A private hospital in Dubai, and its doctor, have been ordered to jointly pay Dh2 million in compensation to a patient who was left with irreversible nerve damage after surgery.
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A Dubai private hospital has been ordered to pay Dh2 million in compensation to a patient who was left permanently disabled after surgery.

The female patient, who has not been named for privacy reasons, was left with irreversible nerve damage after doctors at the hospital performed a complex procedure she did not need.

According to court documents, side effects from the surgery left her unable to eat, drink, swallow or speak for the rest of her life.

Dubai's Court of Appeal ruled that the doctor and the hospital committed a serious medical malpractice and was ordered to jointly pay Dh2m compensation to the patient.

A report by the medical liability committee at Dubai Health Authority confirmed the malpractice.

It said the woman was left with a 15 per cent disability in the original functionality of the lymphatic system and a 50 per cent disability rate in the original function of the tongue.

Additionally, she suffered from a 50 per cent disability in her swallowing and chewing abilities, a 30 per cent disability in speech capabilities, and another 30 per cent loss in her natural ability to perceive taste.

The woman had visited the hospital in 2019 when she was suffering from a benign tumour in her thyroid gland.

Doctors advised a complex surgical procedure called modified radical neck dissection that was performed the same month.

This resulted in the removal of salivary and lymph nodes from both sides of the patient's neck.

Shortly after the surgery, the patient began to suffer life-threatening complications, including severe bleeding. She was then transferred to intensive care for two days.

After her discharge, the patient suffered from a swollen tongue, numbness, and the inability to speak, eat, drink or swallow.

The doctor told her these were normal after-surgery symptoms and he injected her neck with Botox and cortisone to help with the recovery.

But when her symptoms persisted, she received a second opinion from a maxillofacial surgeon in London, who told her that the procedure performed in Dubai had caused her irreversible nerve damage.

She was also told she would have to live with the after-surgery side effects for the rest of her life.

The woman then filed a case against both the hospital and the doctor.

She was awarded Dh2 million in compensation by the Court of First Instance.

The defendants appealed the ruling, which was upheld by the Court of Appeal on July 26.

Updated: March 28, 2024, 9:22 AM