UAE-based doctor gets one-year jail term for costly errors during delivery

Abu Dhabi November 2009: A doctor was sentenced to a year in jail and was also fined with a AEDh10,000 fine for committing several medical errors.

The court, presided over by Chief Justice Idris Bin Mansour, also fined the private hospital where the doctor operated from in Abu Dhabi Dh100,000 for negligence and malpractice.

The court ruling may be appealed, the Chief Justice said. As a result, Gulf News will not publish the name of the private hospital concerned.

Unlicensed

The Lebanese doctor of Ukrainian origin practiced midwifery and obstetrics without a licence from the relevant medical authority. Her actions resulted in a new born suffering brain damage and 100 per cent paralysis after the doctor failed to exercise due care, according to the court records.

The doctor was informed about the ruling through an interpreter and did not give any reaction.

The director of the hospital did not appear at the court but Justice Mansour ordered the prosecution to further investigate the director’s liability.

Under the UAE’s Law on Medical Liability, doctors are bound to exercise a degree of care and skill which could reasonably be expected of a prudent practitioner of the same experience and standing.

The law states an error of judgment can be ruled negligent if it is one that would not have been made by a reasonably competent professional.

The law prohibits doctors from practising their profession in the country without a medical permit and without being insured against medical liability.

A minimum of 80 per cent of the insurance premium will be borne by the hospitals and clinics while the remaining 20 per cent will be borne by doctors.

The baby girl in question, Ola, was born on January 20 last year. She is is still receiving medical care at a hospital in Sweden, according her father, Dr Ali Al Jabiri.

The doctor, who has since been banned from practising in the UAE after assisting in Ola’s birth, has been in police custody for five and a half months.

Liability statute

A law on medical liability that defines negligence, malpractice and mismanagement for the health care sector was passed recently. The law bans all human cloning, both reproductive and therapeutic.

Medical experiments on humans are also banned unless a permit is obtained from the authorities, according to the law.

The illegal practice of cloning will be attract a prison term of up to five years or a fine of up to Dh500,000, or both. The law also bans ending the life of a patient for any reason, even on request from the patient or their custodian or guardian.

Without the consent of patients, doctors are prohibited from treating or performing surgery on them. Medical emergencies and unconscious people are exceptions.