x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Health ministry fined for malpractice during childbirth

The Ministry of Health has been ordered to pay Dh3million to the family of a woman left in a coma after a medical error during the delivery of her twin babies.

SHARJAH // The Ministry of Health has been ordered to pay Dh3million (US$816,000) to the family of a woman left in a coma after a medical error during the delivery of her twin babies. The Federal Supreme Court ordered the payment after rejecting an appeal by the ministry over the level of compensation. Dr Reem Abdul Fattah Ahmed, 33, was left incapacitated three years ago when she was operated on at Al Qassimi Hospital after she went into labour with male and female twins.

The babies, Ghasan and Baisan, were delivered safely on Feb 27 2006. They now live with their maternal grandmother. Dr Ahmed was subsequently sent to Thailand for treatment, but remained in a coma. The family filed a claim for compensation which, though initially ordered by the courts, was appealed by the ministry. The Supreme Court upheld the level of compensation earlier this week. Dr Ahmed's lawyer, Imran al Rawi, said the rejection of the ministry's appeal meant that payment to the family should be made in the next 10 days.

Mr al Rawi said the family had filed a claim for Dh30m to cover legal bills and reparation for the physical, moral and psychological impact of the error on behalf of Dr Ahmed and her husband, Azmi. Dr Reem's mother, Umm Ramze, said she could not express the agony her daughter had gone through in the past three years. There was little chance her daughter would recover, she said. "My daughter has had to undergo several surgeries some related to the stomach and others of arteries," she said.

"I have also had to look after her as well as her twins. I can't contemplate the fact that they are growing up without her conscious. But their health is good and are now talking and playing." Humaid Mohammed Obaid al Qattami, the Health Minister, had formed a team to investigate the case, an official said. The minister also ordered that Dr Reem be taken outside the country for treatment at the ministry's expense.

ykakande@thenational.ae