The father of an Emirati woman has described his family's devastation after his eldest daughter slipped into a coma during a routine nose surgery gone wrong in Dubai.
Rowdha Rashed, 24, visited First Med Day Surgery Centre in Dubai on April 23 for surgery to correct a deviated septum. During what is typically a two-hour surgery, doctors failed to spot a rapid and sustained drop in blood pressure.
Five hours later, the doctors, who are now being investigated for negligence, wheeled Ms Rashed out the back door of the centre to transfer her to another hospital. She was then airlifted to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, where she currently lies unresponsive in the emergency room.
Her family believe her only hope for recovery is to take her to the US for treatment. The medical expenses abroad will be paid for by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, upon orders from Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, who is also Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
While the UAE Government has been quick to support the family, Abdullah Rashed, 50, has been left wondering if he will ever speak to his daughter again.
"I don't know how much of her brain has been damaged and I am too afraid to ask," Mr Rashed told The National.
“All we pray for is for her to respond to us. Her eyes will flutter and then she closes them again she does not respond to anything.”
He said his daughter is enrolled in a master’s degree programme in hospital management and was working for Sharjah Museums Authority prior to the incident. On the day of the surgery, he urged Ms Rashed not to go through with it.
“I had a bad feeling in my gut that day.
“I told her that the money [Dh50,000] didn’t matter and that we should just leave,” he said.
Dubai Health Authority launched an urgent investigation into the incident with preliminary findings revealing evidence of medical negligence in the management of the case. The two physicians involved and the centre in Muraqqabat, Deira have been barred from performing surgery until the investigation is complete.
Dr Marwan Al Mulla, chief executive of the DHA’s regulation department, said the case has been referred to prosecutors to begin legal proceedings.
Meanwhile, the family are preparing to fly to the US for Ms Rashed’s treatment.
“We have spoken to two hospitals who are known to deal with brain injuries and have had positive results. They have not responded till now but we will leave as soon as one of them do,” said Mr Rashed, who works for the Department of Community Development.
“This would not have been possible without the support of Sheikh Mohammed. I am eternally grateful and would like to kiss his hands and his head for his support,” he said.
“I have no words to describe my gratitude. His staff are in touch with us every day and even our food is sent to us from the diwan [Crown Prince Court]. All we ask now is everyone’s prayers for our daughter to come back to us.”
He said the family is hopeful that his daughter will recover in the US with plans for her to be moved into rehabilitative care rather than remaining in the intensive care unit.
“God willing, my daughter will get better,” he said. “All we want is to hear her voice again.”