Mediclinic, one of two hospitals in Dubai Healthcare City is being sued for $55,000,000 after experts concur they breached international standards of care.
Mohammad Imran Hussain, husband and father of four, who worked as business development manager for US giant Dow Chemical, suffered permanent brain damage, rendering him disabled and incapable of caring for himself. He checked into Mediclinic for a routine heart operation which was successful, but due to a lack of planning and preparation, there was a substantial delay in recognising a common post operative complication. As a result, he went into cardiac arrest and his heart stopped for almost 10 minutes, causing permanent brain injury. A US expert said “It is clear to me that the confluence of events led to a completely avoidable catastrophe”.
Medical negligence law is new and under development in Dubai and the government’s stance is yet to be seen. In negligence cases, victims can submit a complaint to The Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA), however there appears to be a conflict of interests because the primary aim of the DHCA is to promote medical tourism and create new income streams for Dubai. Mediclinic is DHCA’s largest investor and the DHCA is unlikely to rule against them, even where evidence of negligence is clear. In fact, initially the DHCA did find that Mediclinic had mismanaged Imran’s case, but only ruled to issue them a letter of warning. Even this ruling was appealed by Mediclinic who have tried to avoid liability by shifting blame onto their sub-contracted staff.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Managing Partner of Stirling Haigh who met with Imran’s family and US medical experts said “It would be a great challenge to obtain a fair and unbiased ruling via the DHCA or other government body. Dubai’s goal is to become a world centre for just about everything, whether it is arbitration, development, technology or medical tourism. Dubai’s tendency has been towards marketing and public relations over functionality and we have seen that overall, they would rather hide issues than address them. Dubai Healthcare City has been founded to promote medical tourism and any adverse judgments regarding negligence may negatively impact the city’s reputation.
The DHCA is by no means an independent committee. Part of their role is to promote medical tourism. This factor coupled with Mediclinic being one of only two hospitals and Dubai Healthcare City´s largest investor, renders it impossible for rulings from the authority to be considered independent.
It is important in healthcare that all misconduct and negligence claims are reviewed independently. If mistakes in process are allowed to occur without accountability, more lives will be lost and Dubai healthcare should not be considered congruent with international medical standards. If medical tourists are aware of such a flaw, they will likely seek treatment in other more established countries.
If Dubai wants to promote itself as a world medical centre of excellence, it must promote accountability in the medical community. Given that the DHCA decisions are made in a secret manner, we can not be confident in their determinations. The only way for a claimant’s case to be properly assessed is through an open court hearing, where both the claimant and the respondent can provide evidence to the court for consideration. Even then, in Dubai, we have seen that the judicial system remains open to abuse, coercion and corruption and we can not be guaranteed a fair hearing, particularly with so many government vested interests at play.
One of the biggest issues that I see in opening a claim in the civil courts is that the courts will give weight to the decisions of the DHCA, even where it may be clear that the decision was wrong. It is unusual for a Judge in the UAE to rule against government interests.”
The outcome of Imran’s case is of the greatest importance. It will show the world whether Dubai is willing to confront medical failures and improve their standards. However, If this clearly evidenced case is swept under the rug for financial gain, hospitals and doctors will be unaccountable, and therefore dangerous to patients.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum is the Chairman and CEO of Dubai Healthcare City and we hope that he sees the importance of a truly independent review process.
Imran’s family simply wants a fair court hearing where they can present their own medical experts. Stirling continued “We hope that Dubai recognises the importance of this case as a step towards saving lives.”
Full Case Study : http://www.detainedindubai.org/medicalnegligence
About Detained in Dubai
Detained in Dubai is a not for profit organisation formed to assist people who have become victims of injustice in the United Arab Emirates. The organisation has advised and assisted more than 10,000 people to date.
Detained in Dubai assist with case strategy, press, negotiating the legal system in the UAE and whatever it takes to achieve a positive outcome.
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Radha Stirling, Founder & CEO of Detained in Dubai
Radha Stirling's experience includes law, finance, business and media. Now acting as a legal consultant, specialising in Middle Eastern law, she has represented a number of high profile clients in multi jurisdictional and often UAE orienting cases.
Miss Stirling has acted as an expert witness in extradition cases, has worked closely with foreign government and has advised Parliaments internationally.
Miss Stirling’s work has been regularly reported in the local and International broadcast and print media including BBC, CNN, NBC, ABC and Al Jazeera. Miss Stirling continues with her goal to influence change in judicial systems internationally.
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