Dubai doctors jailed for botched nose job that left Emirati in coma

First Med Day Surgery Centre in Dubai, where the doctors worked, was also fined Dh300,000

First Med Day Surgery Centre, Dubai. Antonie Robertson / The National
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Three doctors will spend a year in prison and pay Dh51,000 in temporary compensation for their part in routine nose surgery that left an Emirati woman in a coma.

The doctors, who worked at First Med Day Surgery Centre in Dubai, were convicted of medical malpractice, at Dubai Criminal Court on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old surgeon, from the Dominican Republic, 65-year-old anaesthetist and 69-year-old technician - each from Syria - will be deported on serving their prison terms. The judge also fined the clinic, which can now reopen, Dh300,000.

A harsher sentence will make these doctors an example for other physicians who may have forgotten their oath at the sight of money

The doctors’ medical licences were suspended in April last year, after they were involved in the operation to correct a nasal defect that left Rowdha Rashed Almaeeni, 26, with permanent disabilities.

On Wednesday, Abdullah Rashed, Ms Almaeeni's father, said he hoped prosecutors would file an appeal and seek a harsher penalty for the doctors and surgery centre.
"I wish this would happen and a harsher sentence is issued, not only for my daughter's sake but also for the sake of other families' sons and daughters who may fall victims to similar incidents," he said. 
"A harsher sentence will make these doctors an example for other physicians who may have forgotten their oath at the sight of money." 
Mr Rashed, 50, said he and his family drew their strength by knowing their daughter's case had not been forgotten and that people were praying for her.

Now that the doctors have been convicted by the criminal court, the family intend to follow up on their application for compensation through a civil case.

Tuesday's sentence is subject to appeal within two weeks from the date it was issued.

In April, during what should have been a two-hour nose surgery, doctor's failed to detect that Ms Almaeeni's blood pressure dropped.

She suffered a cardiac arrest and her brain was starved of oxygen for seven minutes, causing her severe brain damage.

Soon after, Ms Almaeeni’s family transferred her to a hospital in the US for treatment, without success. They have since returned to the UAE and Ms Almaeeni remains in a coma.

Immediately after the surgery, Dubai Health Authority announced the closure of the centre until the case was settled.

A report produced following investigations by the Higher Committee for Medical Liability indicated “serious medical errors occurred during the surgery that caused the victim permanent disabilities”.

The report showed the operation led to the loss of Ms Almaeeni’s mental and physical abilities, rendering her fully disabled and in need of constant medical care.