DUBAI // A heart surgeon has been suspended and the hospital he works for warned after a patient was left brain damaged after a routine operation.
The family of Mohammed Imran Hussain, 48, are seeking legal guidance in pursuit of compensation for what happened to the father of four after heart bypass surgery in August.
Mr Hussain had been working in Dubai for US firm Dow Chemicals as a business development manager.
He was sending most of what he earned to Canada to fund his two daughters’ education and to pay off a mortgage on his home, where his children live with their mother. His four daughters are 12, 14, 21 and 22.
Mr Hussain’s brother, Amjad Hussain, a businessman based in Bahrain, has temporarily moved to Dubai to help care for his brother and pursue his legal case for compensation against surgeon Dr Uwe Klima and Mediclinic City Hospital, in Dubai Healthcare City.
“Imran has suffered a permanent brain injury with far-reaching consequences, including the loss of able-bodied life,” he said.
“He has lost meaningful, normal relationships and there has been substantial physical and emotional suffering for his family. He will have a lifetime of care needs with excessive costs to allow him to receive the proper chronic support he needs.
“His family has also permanently suffered from the loss of relationship with Imran, as well as the time and additional resources required to advocate on his behalf in this tragic situation.” Mr Hussain developed severe complications after removal of his epicardial pacer wires, which are used to diagnose heart arrhythmias after surgery.
An fluid around the heart resulted in a life-threatening condition – cardiac tamponade, which results in a high heart rate and low blood pressure. Multiple organ failure followed, and Mr Hussain was resuscitated, but because his brain was starved of oxygen, he suffered devastating damage.
Dr Klima, who was caring for Mr Hussain at the time, has been suspended for three months and the hospital where the operation took place warned in a letter after an investigation by Dubai Healthcare City regulators.
Mr Hussain’s family are calling for tougher action to help prevent similar incidents in future. Care costs are about US$1,000 (Dh3,672) a day, which Mr Hussain will require for the rest of his life, as well as home modifications in Toronto to adapt to his disabilities. The case has been reviewed by an independent heart specialist in America, Dr David Jayakar, who produced a five-page report on his findings to support the family’s case.
Dr Jayakar said one of the last procedures that a patient must undergo prior to discharge after this type of heart surgery is removal of the pacer wires connected to heart monitoring equipment.
“Their removal can sometimes lead to complications that can be deadly,” he said.
“It is the medical and nursing team’s responsibility to take every step to avoid complications. There is no documentation that there was any order for the patient to have additional monitoring by the nurses.
“Had all of the proper steps been taken before and after pacer-wire removal, the patient would never have suffered the cardiopulmonary arrest that led to severe brain damage.
“It is clear that, in this particular case, the confluence of events led to a completely avoidable catastrophe that I hope will prompt an internal review process at Mediclinic City Hospital to avoid it ever happening again.”
Regulators found there was no professional misconduct or negligence but there was clear mismanagement in dealing with and recognising cardiac tamponade.
The Fitness to Practice Panel unanimously decided to suspend Dr Klima for three months as the primary treating cardiac surgeon.
The hospital has been warned for failing to provide a replacement cardiac surgeon to monitor Mr Hussain while Dr Klima was in the operating theatre.
Mediclinic will appeal against the decision.
“Mohammed Imran Hussain remains a patient at Mediclinic City Hospital following complications that unfortunately arose after his heart surgery,” the hospital said.
“Mediclinic City Hospital is currently in the process of lodging an appeal against the findings of the regulatory body based on clarification of existing information relevant to Mr Hussain’s case.
Dr Ramadan AlBlooshi, the chief executive of Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulatory, said: “The decision in this particular case was based on evidence from cardiology interventionists and they have given their unbiased clinical opinion.
Their review found that the cardiac surgeon mismanaged the case, as he failed to give clear instructions to monitor the patient after removing the pacing wire and managing the complications in a proper, timely manner.”
There is no time frame in place yet for Mr Hussain to be moved to Toronto.