Fatal medical error: Health director faces questioning


Saudi Gazette report

– The director general of health in one of the Kingdom’s regions has been called for questioning by the legal health committee after a young Saudi man died of medical error during a laparoscopic surgery at King Khaled Hospital in Najran.

The young man’s father Zaidan Al-Jabbar accused the medical team that conducted the surgery of negligence and said he has full confidence in the committee that it would establish justice and prevent negligent medical staff of the hospital.

The hearing was held at the Health Affairs Department in Najran on Sunday when statements of defendants accused of causing Diyab Zaidan Al-Jabbar’s death were heard. Diyab died at King Khaled Hospital following a surgical operation four years ago.

The defendants also face charges of forging official documents regarding the young man’s death in addition to committing administrative and professional excesses.

“It’s the first time the legal health committee is calling the director general of health in a region for investigation as the incident took place while he was working in Najran,” an informed source told Al-Watan Arabic daily.

The 11-member committee is headed by Dr. Fahd Hassan Al-Mashikhi, chief justice of the criminal court in Najran. It has called Zaidan Khadiran Al-Jabbar, father of Diyab, his legal agent Ali Mahdi Al-Hattab as well as the director general of health and five members of the medical team that conducted the operation.

The then acting health minister Adel Faqih issued a decision withdrawing the case from the legal committee in Najran to the legal committee under the health ministry.

The ministry appointed a new investigation committee including Dr. Zafer Matar, consultant laparoscopic surgery at King Saud Medical City in Riyadh, Dr. Ismail Al-Zaazoue from the follow-up department, and Ali Al-Aamiri, administrative inspector at the ministry.

The committee found that large amounts of carbon dioxide were injected into the patient’s abdomen during the surgery and that the anesthesiologist had no idea how to deal with pulmonary embolism, which Diyab was suffering from.

The committee also believed that internal bleeding during the surgery was one of the main reasons for the death as it caused complications. The committee then transferred the case to the legal health committee after making some observations on the medical team’s performance.

The incident took place when Diyab was admitted to King Khaled Hospital for removing excess fat from his abdomen to reduce weight.

According to the report issued by the medical committee the patient’s blood pressure declined to the lowest level 45 minutes after the operation. It also increased the man’s heart beat and carbon content in blood, thus leading to sudden stoppageof his heart.

Doctors tried their best to revive the man’s heart but internal bleeding continued due a damaged blood vessel. They also gave him more blood, plasma and fluids but his blood pressure continued to decline.

Al-Jabbar emphasized that he would continue his legal battle to win his private rights while expressing his confidence in the legal committee. “I have confidence in the Kingdom’s judiciary that it will establish justice,” he told Al-Watan.

He urged authorities to take punitive action against those who showed negligence in carrying out their duties. “We have lost our son while we were preparing for his marriage. Diyab died while he was in his prime youth, enjoying good health,” he added.