JEDDAH – Expatriate Fareed Al-Bakri never thought that filing a medical error case before the Shariah Medical Commission would be this difficult or could take so long. Neither did he think that the lengthy procedures would force him to drop his case against the hospital that botched a blood transfusion that led to the death of his wife. Unfortunately, this was exactly what Fareed had to do.
In an interview with Al-Watan Arabic daily, Al-Bakri said that the commission’s drawn-out procedures made him give up his right to sue the hospital which caused the death of his wife.
Al-Bakri said, “My wife had breast cancer and was treated outside the Kingdom without any complications. When she returned to the Kingdom, she started to complain about pain in her back. We went to the hospital and she had a radiological session. Four days later, we were told that she needed an urgent blood transfusion because of low hemoglobin.”
Doctors outside the Kingdom had already told Al-Bakri that a blood transfusion would put his wife’s life at great risk so he refused to let doctors do a blood transfusion. Instead, he asked them to give her a syringe to raise the number of hemoglobin as the hospital outside the Kingdom had done.
Despite his request to the doctors, they insisted on the blood transfusion, which deteriorated her health and forced her to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Al-Bakri said, “Blood was coming out of my wife when she was in the ICU. What’s worse is that the ICU doctor did three blood transfusions for her without consulting us or the specialist doctor.”
According to consultants, it was due to this blood transfusion that the pleura of his wife’s lungs were destroyed, leading to her death. The pleura is one of a pair of membranes enveloping the lungs.
Al-Bakri said, “The hospital intended to do a blood transfusion and admitted my wife to the ICU to increase the bill, which was SR200,000.”
He lodged a complaint at the Commission and attended a number of sessions but no one from the hospital showed up. It was because of this and because of the lengthy sessions which required him to travel from Riyadh to Jeddah that Al-Bakri was eventually forced to drop the case.
Shariah Medical Commission Chairman Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Ojairi told Al-Watan that the Commission had tried to look into Al-Bakri’s accusation that an oncologist had caused the death of his wife.
He said, “We read the medical report issued by the hospital and we were going to refer it to a committee to study it, but the husband dropped the case. The husband attended four sessions but the hospital representative didn’t show up and sessions were postponed.”
Sheikh Al-Ojairi admitted that this was not the first time that the commission’s lengthy procedures and sessions have forced complainants to drop their cases. However, he insisted the problem is due to the absence of a special court dealing with medical error cases. — Al-Watan/Saudi Gazette