JEDDAH — Nearly a year after a 30-year-old woman died on the operating table at a private hospital here, the Medical Shariah Board in Jeddah convicted recently the surgeon who performed gallbladder surgery on the woman of involuntary manslaughter and fined him SR70,000.
The board issued a guilty verdict against the physician after he was found guilty of committing a medical error that caused the woman’s death. The ruling included both private and public rights penalties, according to a report in Al-Watan newspaper.
The report said the physician performed emergency gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) after the patient began suffering from severe pain, which caused serious complications. When fluids began to collect in the patient’s abdomen, the physician used a contaminated tube to remove the fluids and this caused further contamination of the region, intestinal adhesions and formation of nearly three liters of puss. He also wrongly removed part of the patient’s bile duct during the surgery, which is usually performed by an experienced biliary surgeon.
“After reviewing the reports in the case file and interrogating the physician, we have found that the physician had committed a grave mistake while performing the surgery that caused the patient’s death. The physician had no experience in performing such surgeries and he used the wrong procedure in removing part of the patient’s bile duct,” said Abdul Rahman Ajeery, chairman of the Medical Shariah Board. Ajeery also confirmed that the board had ruled in both the private and public rights and order the physician to pay SR50,000 in blood money as a private right and SR20,000 in fines as a public right.
The private hospital the physician worked at has a history of botched surgeries.
Earlier, a bariatric surgeon at the same hospital was accused of causing the death of 10 Saudi women while performing obesity weight loss surgery. The surgeon subsequently fled the country and attempts are underway to bring him back to stand trial in the Kingdom.
About six physicians who worked in different private hospitals in Jeddah and were accused of committing medical errors have reportedly fled the country. — SG