Abu Dhabi, UAE: A diabetic woman who was wrongly told she needed a leg amputated after two hospitals botched the treatment of her broken ankle has been awarded Dh200,000 in compensation.
The civil court ruled yesterday that the hospitals would jointly pay the amount because of the financial, ethical and psychological damage they had caused her.
But the court cleared the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi as the incident took place in 2007, before the body became responsible for the emirate’s public health care.
The woman was admitted to the casualty department of one of the hospitals after breaking her left ankle. Doctors told her she needed surgery and that the success rate was about 90 per cent.
She agreed to the operation after clarifying with doctors that she was diabetic. She showed them medication she was taking and was assured her condition was not a problem.
The surgery took place the next day and the woman was released after a further 24 hours. But by the time she returned to the hospital to have her stitches taken out, she was suffering severe pain in her ankle, and had an infection and skin discolouration caused by internal bleeding.
Despite these symptoms, along with the rotten smell emanating from her wound, doctors sent her home once more.
Her relatives took her to a hospital in another emirate to seek a second opinion. Doctors there told her to return to the first hospital to remove the metallic discs inserted during the operation.
Delays meant the discs were not removed until a month later.
After a complaint by her parents, the hospital formed a medical committee to look into her case. The committee recommended that the leg be amputated.
The woman decided against this and instead travelled abroad for treatment. Doctors managed to cure much of the pain she was suffering from without further surgery, although she still suffers side effects caused by the original operation.
A forensics report submitted to the court said that doctors were right to carry out the ankle surgery, but that the subsequent infections the woman suffered were not brought under control.
It also said that delays in the removal of the discs exacerbated her condition and had caused some of the bones in her left leg to consume each other.
It referred to her resulting condition as constituting a 30 per cent disability.
© The NationalSep 2012