x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Doctor suspended in Dubai on murder charge has job in Al Ain

Intensive-care chief on trial for murder is working in hospital.

DUBAI // A doctor on trial for the "mercy killing" of a patient and suspended from working in Dubai has continued practising in a hospital in Al Ain.

EA, 50, former chief of the intensive care unit at Rashid Hospital, is one of two doctors whose trial on a charge of premeditated murder began on Sunday at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance.

Prosecutors allege that in February 2009, EA, who is Austrian, allowed a quadriplegic patient, Ghulam Mohammed, to die after he shut down his life-support system.

EA was suspended from practising medicine by Dubai Health Authority, but in May of that year he was employed by the Abu Dhabi health-services company Seha as head of anaesthesia and intensive care at a hospital in Al Ain, according to online records.

A member of staff at the hospital confirmed the doctor was on duty there yesterday. Seha officials said the authority was looking into the matter.

The emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai have separate medical licensing procedures; being suspended or struck off in one emirate does not necessarily affect a doctor's status in the other. This is one of a number of recent cases of a lack of co-ordination among different emirates' licensing bodies.

Another doctor, M?A, 49, from India, who was the ICU attending physician on the day Mr Mohammed died, is accused of refusing to resuscitate him on instructions from E?A.

The two doctors refused to revive the patient when he suffered a heart attack, and instructed other medical staff not to do so either, prosecutors say.

They were investigated by a medical committee at the hospital, which found them liable. The committee deemed their actions illegitimate and in violation of Dubai Health Authority regulations, and referred them to the Dubai Public Prosecutor for criminal investigation.

The committee head, Ashraf Mahmood Al Houthy, an Egyptian medical consultant, told prosecutors E?A had violated the medical practice code.

“The orders issued verbally and backed up by written instruction violated the medical practice code followed in Dubai, as the patient was conscious and not clinically dead,” he said.

Euthanasia is illegal under UAE federal law, and doctors are required to revive patients regardless of the patients’ wishes. “Do Not Resuscitate” protocols are invalid here. In May, Dubai Health Authority rejected demands by some doctors to allow euthanasia. It said ending a human life was not permissible.

amustafa@thenational.ae