DUBAI // A doctor who put a woman’s life at risk by failing to diagnose a problem in her pregnancy was yesterday fined Dh10,000.
The patient, who was suffering an ectopic pregnancy, later needed to have a large part of her fallopian canal removed and miscarried.
F F, 30, from Sri Lanka, visited Al Rafaa Health Centre in February 2011 when she was seven weeks pregnant, and was given an ultrasound by the doctor, T M, 42, from India.
She was unable to see the foetus and told the woman to return in two weeks, despite her complaints of lower abdominal pain.
The next morning the expectant mother became dizzy and fell to the ground. She lost the ability to move and feared she was paralysed. She was rushed to Latifa Hospital and found to be suffering from an ectopic pregnancy, which is when the foetus develops outside the womb.
Doctors told her she would probably die without a blood transfusion and immediate surgery. The size of the foetus meant a large part of her fallopian canal had to be removed.
The doctor, who had been working at the centre for 10 years, denied being negligent when she appeared at the Misdemeanours Court.
She said that when she examined the woman she was able to see the pregnancy sack, and that the patient did not tell her she was in pain.
An investigation by Dubai Health Authority found that the patient should have been referred to a hospital after her visit to the primary health centre.
The inquiry also found that the doctor missed the ectopic pregnancy – a "life-threatening condition" – because she failed to take a proper case history, failed to examine the patient and did not review her BHCG (pregnancy test) report.
The authority's report noted that the doctor was inexperienced in performing pelvic ultrasound and had failed to refer the patient to a radiologist despite her lower abdominal pain.
The report recommended that doctors in primary health care should not perform ultrasound scans unless they had formal certification for such treatment.