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UAE hospitals: No go zones
The FNC confirmed on Tuesday what most UAE residents already know: the nation’s hospitals make too many fatal mistakes
December 30, 2008 2:55 by Dana El Baltaji
The Federal National Council (FNC) was told on Tuesday that patients are dying due to preventable hospital errors and neglect, “even during simple operations,” said Salem Mohammad Al Naqbi, an FNC member.
“So what’s causing all these deaths in the first place and what did the Ministry of Health do to prevent these errors and complications during surgical procedures, including post-operative infections that result in death?” he asked.
Good question. The Minister of Health, Humaid Al Qutami sent a statement to the FNC claiming that the ministry has taken steps to ensure deaths are reduced, such as issuing the medical liability clause and establishing a committee to study medical errors and to determine who is responsible.
The FNC, however, dismissed the letter, and demanded an audience with the Al Qutami in person. “If we had taken enough measures to prevent these errors, we would have far fewer deaths and great improvement in patient care,” said Al Naqbi.
Ironically, the UAE wants to be a medical tourism destination. Back in November, Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, unveiled the capital’s plans to attract medical tourism. He said: “Medical tourism requires provision of medical infrastructure and medical care to provide world class medical services and we are moving around that direction.”
Clearly, the UAE needs to get the basics of its medical industry sorted before it lures more patients, both foreign and local, to suffer the deadly consequences of “preventable hospital errors and neglect.”
It’s no wonder that expatriates travel to their home countries for medical treatment. But they’re not alone. Even Emiratis, who benefit from free medical insurance, travel abroad for treatment. According to a report, approximately 62,000 nationals traveled to Thailand to seek medical care during the first seven months of 2006.