Patient sues hospital after treatment leaves him badly burned

"Human error" meant man was given ten times too much UV radiation, leaving him with first and second-degree burns.

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ABU DHABI // Hours after Saoud al Mansouri received ultraviolet therapy at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City for his pigmentation disorder, he felt a burning sensation in his skin. He soon discovered he had been given 10 times the prescribed radiation dose, and the result was first- and second-degree burns. Now, he is suing the hospital for compensation. Mr al Mansouri, 28, started a course of UVB therapy in September for his vitiligo, a skin whitening disease. According to documents obtained by The National, he underwent five sessions without incident.

But the sixth, on October 11, apparently went badly wrong. "The planned dose was 0.24 joules/cm²," a medical evaluation by a dermatologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) said. "Based on human error, the machine was set to 2.4 joules/cm2." According to the report, within hours of the treatment Mr al Mansouri felt burning on his skin, "and he developed severe redness and some blistering on areas which were exposed to UV light".

He was immediately treated for the burns over much of his body. A doctor's assessment noted that Mr al Mansouri would recover from the burns "within a few days, and most probably no residual signs or symptoms will remain". But the burns did not disappear and he complained to the doctors that his eyesight was affected. His eyesight was tested and the results were "20/20 without correction". A separate report by SKMC said that Mr al Mansouri has "a background history of previous allergic eye disease," a statement refuted by Mr al Mansouri and his lawyer, Nashwa al Qubaissi.

"My client has no history of any allergies in his eye and we have the documents to prove it," Mrs al Qubaissi said. On October 15, SKMC officials, as well as the doctors and nurses involved in the case, met Mr al Mansouri and his family. Two days later, Mr al Mansouri filed a formal complaint at SKMC. Hours later he checked out of SKMC and went to Al Noor Hospital. According to hospital records, he was treated for first and second-degree burns. He has since been flown to Germany to have several operations. He could not be reached for comment.

SKMC, according to the family and attorney, has not replied to his request for an investigation. SKMC declined to comment due to the privacy of its patient. It is also not known if SKMC wants to settle the case out of court. Dr Jamal al Kaabi, one of the head investigators at the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi, said he was aware of the case, but declined to comment on it due to patient confidentiality. Dr al Kaabi said the case in HAAD has been closed.