x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Surgeon fined over tummy-tuck which killed Emirati mother-of-six

A plastic surgeon in the UAE who killed a patient by removing 23kg of fat during a tummy-tuck operation was today fined Dh101,000 and ordered to pay blood money of Dh200,000 to her family.

DUBAI // A court has ordered blood money for the family of a mother of six who died during plastic surgery in which 23 kilograms of fat and stomach wall were removed.

But the Brazilian plastic surgeon found guilty of causing her death was sentenced in his absence, and his whereabouts are unknown.

The Emirati patient M?H, 39, was described as morbidly obese and had requested a “tummy-tuck”, or abdominoplasty, a procedure to make the stomach firmer by removing excess skin and fat.

She was made aware of the extra risks involved in someone of her weight undergoing such an operation, but insisted on having it done.

The surgeon L?O, 39, conducted the five-hour operation on June 8, 2010.

Afterwards, the woman became agitated and complained of severe chest pain and shortness of breath.

She was admitted to the intensive-care unit but her condition deteriorated and she became unconscious.

Despite what reports called aggressive attempts at resuscitation, she was declared dead the next day.

The anaesthetist in the surgery, who was cleared of blame for the death, said he had warned the surgeon against the operation.

“I told him only a few doctors in the entire world carry out this procedure,” said the Indian anaesthetist N?D, 46.

He said this was the first time he had been part of such a surgery in which the patient was so overweight, but tests carried out on the woman suggested she was fit enough for it.

The surgeon had pleaded not guilty, saying he had carried out several similar procedures in the UAE.

He said the patient had approached him about the difficulties she was facing because of her weight.

“She told me she couldn’t move or walk easily, and often had to ask for the help of those around her,” the surgeon said.

The woman’s brother, an Armed Forces officer, said her family was not given her corpse until two days after the incident as the Bur Dubai police station had referred her for an autopsy.

The Dubai Court of Misdemeanours ordered the surgeon to pay Dh200,000 in blood money and a Dh101,000 fine.

He was also sentenced to a one-month suspended jail term.

salamir@thenational.ae