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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Time running out for brain damaged Dubai patient Imran Hussain, family say

Visa due to expire in days but medical negligence dispute remains unresolved

Imran Hussein was left with brain damage after rapidly deteriorating following an operation in late 2016. Chris Whiteoak for The National
Imran Hussein was left with brain damage after rapidly deteriorating following an operation in late 2016. Chris Whiteoak for The National

Time is running out for brain a damaged patient in a Dubai hospital who faces an uncertain future as a negligence claim pursued by his family remains unresolved.

It is 18 months since Imran Hussain, from Pakistan, was taken into Mediclinic City Hospital on August 1, 2016.

He went for follow up surgery after successfully undergoing routine coronary angiography at a hospital in Garhoud.

A week later and recovering well, Imran’s condition took a catastrophic turn for the worse when epicardial pacing wires were removed.

Bleeding around his heart led to a 'cardiac tamponade'.

The condition was not picked up by his carers, and it is claimed that there is no record of nurses checking on his vital signs for 80 minutes after the wires were removed.

According to the subsequent case review, Mr Hussain’s heart stopped, causing irreparable brain damage.

Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulatory has cleared Mediclinic of wrong doing, a point disputed by Mr Hussain’s family who are seeking their own legal action.

They have seen little progress after an independent Ministry of Health and Prevention committee was established to review the case.

A Fitness to Practice Panel placed a three-month ban on the doctor responsible for Mr Hussain’s care, Dr Uwe Klima.

Meanwhile the condition of Mr Hussain, a 51-year-old father of four, continues to worsen.

Insurers are refusing to cover the cost until the case has been resolved, and Imran’s former employer, Dow Corning, is due to cancel his visa on April 5.

The patient’s brother, Amjad, has so far been unable to secure an extension to Imran’s visa and is worried about what will happen when he effectively becomes an illegal resident.

“If Imran’s visa is cancelled, it means his stay becomes illegal and he faces uncertain future,” said Amjad Hussain.

“I’ve no idea where he can go, as he holds a Pakistan passport but has no home or relatives there. All immediate family either in Canada, USA or in the GCC.

“Imran has no country or place to go. He cannot be thrown anywhere as he needs 24/7 care either in hospital or a specialist rehabilitation for his needs.”

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Although Imran’s family live in Canada, since being incapacitated he has lost his Canadian Permanent Residency due to his prolonged stay at hospital.

His former employer, Dow Corning, now Dow DuPont, - an American multinational dealing in silicon technologies where Imran was a well-paid executive - insist the company has fulfilled its duty of care.

“Dow Corning ensures that employees are treated fairly as per our policy and the required laws and regulations locally,” a spokesman said.

Amjad, who has been travelling regularly from Bahrain to visit his brother as the only family member in the region, said it is becoming distressing to see his brother’s health deteriorate.

Amjad has been declared Imran’s legal guardian by a Dubai court.

“Imran’s day to day care is good, but he was not getting the physiotherapy he needs,” Amjad said.

“After several follow-ups with the hospital, they eventually started providing regular physiotherapy.

“We think it has become a financial issue. Imran can’t communicate, so I am responsible for his human rights and his care.

“I’ve asked for Imran’s latest medical records but Mediclinic has refused to hand them over to me and have said I need a court order.

“We have submitted the request to the court, but they have not responded yet.

“The nature of the case is very big, so everyone is being cautious and taking their time. Imran’s health is deteriorating in this time.”

An independent committee has been formed by the health ministry to decide if any negligence has taken place during Imran’s care.

It was not available for comment.

“The condition of Mr Hussain is deeply saddening and our thoughts are with his family,” said Dr Pietie Loubser, chief clinical officer at Mediclinic Middle East.

“We can confirm that we have fully cooperated with the regulator and local authority and the matter is now before the Dubai Courts.

“We reject any allegation of negligence on the part of Mediclinic City Hospital and Mediclinic Middle East or any of its employees.

“Mediclinic has an excellent track record of looking after its patients over many years and continues to uphold the highest standards of medical care and conducts its business with a focus on patient safety and well-being.”

Although Mediclinic City Hospital is situated in Dubai Healthcare City, the authority said it was no longer in a position to help Imran’s family resolve their negligence claims.

In a previous statement, Dr Ramadan AlBlooshi, CEO of Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulatory, said: “Any case that is criminal in nature and/or related to monetary compensation is outside of the jurisdiction of the Dubai Healthcare City free zone.

“For us patient safety remains a top priority; and in instances when cases are referred to other authorities, such as in this case, we trust our judicial system.”

“It is very tough,” Amjad said.

“For 18 months we’ve had no progress. It’s a complicated case, and no one wants to take responsibility.

“Those involved are just concerned about the financial implications and the damage to reputation.”