Files missing in case of surgeon accused of child death, UAE court told

Vital medical files are missing concerning the death of a patient who a South African doctor is accused of killing through negligence, say lawyers defending him.

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ABU DHABI // Key medical files surrounding the death of a three-year-old girl at an Abu Dhabi hospital are missing, a court heard today.

Lawyers for the paediatric oncologist Cyril Karabus, who is accused of causing the Yemeni cancer patient's death by failing to give her a blood transfusion, told the Criminal Court that the case file in their possession was blank after July 31, 2002 - despite the girl's death occurring in October of that year.

"The case file is missing entries from that date until the day of the incident, on October 19," said Khalfan Al Kaabi, one of Mr Karabus's two lawyers.

He insisted the defence team be given access to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City's original file to prove the professor's innocence.

In addition to failing to give the girl a blood transfusion Mr Karabus, a South African professor in his 70s, is also accused of falsifying a report to hide his mistake and make it appear that a transfusion had taken place.

"We need the original file to show whether there has been blood transfer or not... The copy shows until July 31, there was no incident then," said Mr Al Kaabi.

A medical committee was today expected to issue an expert verdict on whether the professor was responsible for the patient's death. However, the court was told the committee's report was not yet ready.

"We can wait to see what the medical committee decides and then request the original file," the judge told the defence lawyers.

The lawyers insisted the original file was vital to their defence.

The court agreed to make a request for the original file and adjourned the case until December 6.