x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Physician accused of attempted abortion, Dubai court hears

An Iraqi doctor is accused of attempting an abortion on a patient whose baby was disabled.

DUBAI // A 56-year-old physician is accused of attempting to perform an abortion, a court heard today.

Prosecutors said that ES, an Iraqi, is at large, and she did not attend the hearing to enter a plea. She was charged with attempting to terminate the pregnancy by giving medication to induce birth and attempting to perform surgery.

Records show that the victim NM, 41, also Iraqi, experienced three miscarriages after which she started getting check-ups at the defendant's clinic. When she became pregnant for the fourth time, the doctor followed the woman's condition and said the foetus was in good health.

NM continued to experience pain, swelling and constant fatigue. In her 25th week she was unable to walk on her own and used a wheelchair. She was also unable to sleep because of fever, and she had pain and swelling in her abdomen.

NM told prosecutors that ES had been giving her injections throughout the pregnancy to keep her from miscarrying. She also said the doctor repeatedly said the baby's health was fine.

NM's condition deteriorated and she was referred to the The Fetal Medicine & Genetic Center where she was told the foetus had Down Syndrom, lung deformities, and body swelling.

"They told such symptoms can be detected from the ninth month," said NM, who called the defendant after she heard the news. The defendant allegedly asked her to come the hospital, where she gave NM a vaginal suppository that was supposed to ease her pain.

The woman started bleeding shortly afterwards, and doctors later told her the suppository was used to cause an abortion.

The victim called ES when the bleeding started and was told to come to the hospital for a Caesarian birth. Hospital management prohibited the operation, so ES referred NM to a physician at Dubai Hospital to carry out the abortion where it was stopped by hospital management.

NM told prosecutors that she underwent an exam and was told she had three different viruses. Doctors said the Amniotic fluid in her abdomen which caused the deformities in the baby was also keeping her from sleeping. She was admitted to Dubai Hospital where they operated. The baby was suffering from bleeding in the brain and died an hour after birth.

AA, a British gynaecologist, testified that while she worked at Dubai Hospital the victim was referred to them after she was given a medication that induces labour.

"The defendant advised the patient to terminate the pregnancy when she found out the baby was not in good health," AA said.

NM filed a complaint at the Dubai Health Authority.

A verdict will be issued on July 25.

salamir@thenational.ae