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Court jails doctor for inducing labour against Dubai woman's will

An iraqi doctor accused of attempting to abort a pregnancy is sentenced to three years in prison.

DUBAI // A doctor who attempted to abort a foetus without the mother's consent was today sentenced to three years in prison.

ES, a 56-year-old Iraqi whose whereabouts are unknown, was sentenced in absentia by the Criminal Court. The sentence carries a deportation order in addition to the custodial term.

The doctor had been treating her compatriot NM, 41, who was undergoing a fourth pregnancy after suffering three miscarriages, and had administered injections throughout to keep the woman from miscarrying.

She repeatedly told the woman that the foetus was in good health despite the woman continuing to experience pain, swelling and constant fatigue. By week 25 of the woman's pregnancy she was unable to walk and was forced to use a wheelchair. She was also unable to sleep because of fever, and had pain and swelling in her abdomen.

When the woman's condition deteriorated she was referred to the Foetal Medicine & Genetic Center where she was told the foetus had Down's Syndrome, lung deformities, and body swelling.

She then visited the doctor, who gave her a vaginal suppository claiming it would ease her pain. Shortly afterwards the woman began bleeding and she called the doctor once more. The doctor advised the woman to abort the pregnancy and go to the hospital for a Caesarean.

However, the hospital management refused to carry out the operation and the doctor referred the woman to another physician at a different hospital. This was also stopped by hospital management.

She was then examined by doctors who told her she was suffering from three viruses and that the amniotic fluid in her abdomen which caused the deformities to the baby was also responsible for her inability to sleep. They also informed her that the suppository the doctor gave her was a medication that induces labour.

She was admitted to Dubai Hospital where her baby was born suffering from bleeding in the brain and died an hour later.

The woman then complained to the Dubai Health Authority.

salamir@thenational.ae

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