A Saudi woman yesterday accused a well-known private hospital in Jeddah of killing her brother by committing fatal medical errors. She said that her brother had undergone two unnecessary surgical operations in his back though he died due to a lung infection.
The sister said that she was told by doctors of another hospital she consulted that the symptoms shown by the victim were indicative of the MRSA infection, an infection which usually spreads in operation rooms and intensive care units when hygienic conditions are poor.
She said she knew of five other patients who died at the same hospital because of the same infection in the past two years.
She told Arab News that her family would file a complaint against the hospital in court because the doctor insisted on performing a surgical operation in her brother's back while the injury was in the neck.
“He had a car accident and the doctor's diagnosis showed that he suffered from a broken neck vertebrae, but they insisted on performing the operation on the spine,” she said.
She alleges that the operation had left him paralyzed so he underwent another operation to correct the mistake they made. Following the procedure, the patient suffered internal bleeding.
“They took him to the intensive care unit where I did not see any gloves or masks in use. Anyone, even someone with no medical background, would notice something was wrong in there,” she said.
She said that he caught a lung infection caused by what she was told was MRSA.
“It is an infection that is caused by bacteria that infects people in hospitals when medical tools are not sterilized. I consulted doctors from outside the hospital before he died and they assured me that he suffered from medical errors during the surgery in his back, in addition to the infection of the lung,” she said.
She said that hospital officials refrained numerous times from giving proper details of the victim's condition while in the ICU until he passed away. "He remained in the ICU for 15 days," she said.
Sami Badawood, health affairs director in Jeddah, said no case can be filed against the hospital without referring to his department in Jeddah to make sure that medical error did indeed exist. If proven that the hospital didn't follow the necessary precautions in the ICU, maximum penalties shall ensue.
Hazem Abdul Wahab, a lawyer, said a medical and Shariah committee must be formed to investigate the case against the hospital. The committee will assess the medical errors committed by the doctors. If proven guilty, the hospital would lose its license and be shut down by the Ministry of Health.