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Salah Jameel’s operation was a simple procedure, says surgeon

Last updated: Monday, November 19, 2012 8:44 AM

Hussein Hazzazi
Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH – The operation on Salah Jameel, the eight-year-old-boy who died at Dr. Erfan and Bagedo General Hospital due to an alleged medical error, was a simple procedure and free of any risks if conducted inside a properly-equipped operation room, said Dr. Waleed Bokhari, a renowned surgeon and a relative of the boy.

Bokhari said the sampling that was supposed to be taken under local anesthesia inside an operation room was instead performed inside the x-ray room, which reflects the negligence of the doctor. “This scenario is similar to what happened to Michael Jackson.”

Then the doctor decided to administer general anesthesia instead of local anesthesia, Bokhari said.

Instead of giving the child the proper dosage of oxygen, the doctor gave him nitrogen. Salah’s body started to convulse. The doctor gave him another dosage of nitrogen believing that it was oxygen. Seventeen minutes later, the doctor discovered his error but it was too late.

Bokhari was shocked to learn that the hospital’s owner allowed the doctor who administered the nitrogen and committed this grave medical error to travel abroad, possibly to escape prosecution.

The case has been referred to the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution. Sources told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that the names of the employees working for the maintenance company servicing the gas cylinders at the hospital were put on the travel ban list, while the hospital HR personnel who assisted the doctor to leave the Kingdom were called for questioning.

The Directorate of Health Affairs in Jeddah said all technical and medical reports regarding this case have been sent to the Minister of Health and instructions are expected to be issued soon regarding the case.

Dr. Sami Badawood, director of Jeddah Health Affairs, said the committees completed the investigation into the case and the hospital’s owner and the doctors who helped in the operation were called for questioning.

The results of the investigation will be issued soon.

Badawood was shocked to know that the doctor left the Kingdom despite the fact that the directorate sent an advisory against it 24 hours prior to his departure.

The child’s father Yusuf Abdul Latif Jameel said the hospital should have investigated the role of the doctor before giving him permission to travel.

Relatives of the victim who met the hospital’s owner were told that the doctor committed a grave error and gave the child a high dose of nitrogen instead of oxygen and this led to his death.

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