x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Missed diagnosis put life of pregnant woman at risk, Dubai court hears

A doctor who failed to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy put the life of the mother at risk and caused her to lose her unborn child, the Misdemeanors Court hears.

DUBAI // A doctor who failed to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy put the life of the mother at risk and caused her to lose her unborn child, the Misdemeanors Court heard today.

Prosecutors said that FF, a 30-year-old from Sri Lanka, was seven-weeks pregnant when she visited the Al Rafaa Health Centre on February 13 last year and met the Indian doctor TM, 42. The pregnancy had previously been confirmed by a hospital, but the woman said she was told to return in two weeks after the doctor failed to detect the foetus on an ultrasound scan.

"She put me on folic acid and duphaston," said the woman, adding that she told the doctor she was suffering persistent pain in her lower abdomen.

The next morning the woman became dizzy and fell to the ground.

"I was unable to move my body and felt I was paralysed," said the woman, who was rushed to Latifa Hospital where she was found to be suffering an ectopic pregnancy - in which the foetus develops outside the womb.

The woman required immediate surgical intervention and a blood transfusion to save her life. "The doctor at Latifa Hospital told my husband that I would probably die if I didn't get blood and surgery," said the woman.

Due to the large size of the foetus part of the woman's fallopian canal had to be removed. "The left fallopian canal became inefficient and I lost a lot of money due to the misdiagnosis," said the woman.

However, the doctor denied the woman's account, saying she had seen the pregnancy sac when she scanned the patient, and claimed the patient "did not tell me she suffered from any kind of pain".

She said she had been working at the centre for ten years and denied any negligence.

A report by the Dubai Health Authority said the primary health centre should have referred the woman to hospital immediately. It said that the doctor failed to diagnose ectopic pregnancy because she had not taken a proper history of the patient, had failed to examine her and did not review her BHCG report.

It said the doctor was inexperienced in performing pelvic ultrasound and failed to refer the patient to a radiologist despite the patient complaining of abdominal pain and ultrasound findings that should have caused her to do so.

It also said that doctors in primary health care should not perform ultrasound scans unless they had formal certification.

The next hearing was scheduled for October 2 while the doctor's lawyer prepares her defence.

salamir@thenational.ae