x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Botched operation cost fireman his knee, court hears

A fire fighter was left needing a knee replacement after an operation that went wrong, hears court.

DUBAI // A hospital operation that went wrong cost a fireman his knee and his livelihood, a court heard today.

AM, a 35-year-old Emirati, visited the Belhoul Specialty Hospital in July 2008 complaining of severe pain in his left knee that he first noticed following training sessions with his unit at the Dubai Civil Defence.

But the partial knee replacement surgery he was advised to have by the surgeon JM was not carried out properly and left him needing a complete replacement, the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours heard.

JM, a 44-year-old from Romania, and the hospital manager JH, a 61-year-old from New Zealand, are charged with medical negligence that left the fireman with a permanent disability.

Following the partial knee replacement advised by JM, the court heard that AM suffered an infection, swelling, consistent pain and difficulty in walking that prevented him from returning to work.

When AM returned to the hospital he was told the surgeon was out of the country on annual leave. Another doctor checked AM and advised him to undergo another surgery to remove the implants from the first operation.

But following this procedure, in January 2009, AM continued to suffer constant pain and doctors decided to totally remove his knee.

AM told the court that the surgeries had made his left leg shorter than the right. As a result he has a limp and cannot kneel during prayer.

JH, who has been a manager of the hospital since 2006, pleaded not guilty to the negligence charge.

"The doctor checked him and carried out the surgery then left the country to return later and submit his resignation," said JH. He said JM resigned because his father had been diagnosed with cancer.

The doctor who carried out the follow-up procedure said there had been an error in the original operation. He said the implant was loose and not fixed properly and that this caused the complications and AM's 30 per cent disability.

JM did not appear in court and was said to be out of the country.

The next hearing will be on March 20.

salamir@thenational.ae