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Iraq national in coma after weight loss surgery

The PhD student had a cardiac arrest during surgery, doctors said.

Fatah, who is in a coma since January following surgery.  (Left) With his family in happier times Fatah is in a coma since January following surgery. 

An Iraq national and PhD scholar at the University of Pune, who underwent surgery for lipodystrophy to remove excess fat on January 3 has been in a coma and his family has filed a complaint alleging “negligence and carelessness” by doctors.

Police have approached the medical council to find if there was any medical negligence.

The PhD student had a cardiac arrest during surgery, doctors said.

Dr Ashish Davalbhakta of the multispecialty hospital in Shivajinagar, Aesthetics Medispa, who is a consultant plastic surgeon and cosmetic surgeon, said there was no negligence and he was cooperating with the investigations.

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Fatah’s wife said the PhD (Microbiology) scholar in the university since 2009 is living in Pashan. “My husband approached Dr Davakbhakta for weight loss. Instead of suggesting appropriate exercise and diet, the doctor advised him stomach liposuction surgery. He was told it was a minor surgery and would be able to perform routine activities in two to three hours. Rs 2 lakh were paid in advance for the treatment,” said Shimaa Mizii, his wife.

She claimed that before the surgery, Fatah was fit, had no illness and his weight was 78 kg.

“After surgery, my husband has not recovered. He is in coma and was shifted to the ICU of a multi-specialty hospital in Shivajinagar,” she said.

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Shimaa sent legal notice to the doctor through lawyers – Mohammed Azheruddin and Mushtaq Shaikh. The lawyers claimed that the doctor performed the surgery without informing the family. Shimaa approached Baba Kamble of Kashtakri Kamgar Panchayat for help and filed a complaint at Shivajinagar police station on July 26 and August 2.

Senior police inspector N V Jadhav said, “We are probing the case. We have approached the medical council. Statements of concerned persons are being recorded. Further action will be based on the report of the medical council.”

When contacted, Dr Dhavalbhakta said, “The patient did consult us for lipodystrophy. His first consultation was in April 2012. He had detailed consultation on December 27, 2013. He was thoroughly investigated for fitness.Liposuction is common and risk of cardiac arrest is 3 to 20 deaths per 1 lakh cases. The risk was informed to and signed by Fatah.”

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“Unfortunately, he suffered from cardiac arrest three and a half hour into the operation. We gave the best possible treatment after that. And his condition did improve, he became stable, except for his cerebral hypoxia. It may take months for his condition to improve. His family was silent for eight months as they were satisfied with treatment. The matter is sub judice now. We are cooperating with investigations and there is nothing to hide. There is no negligence at all.”

The family said they have lost hope. “The doctor did not give us proper clarifications. My husband is battling for life and may not survive. We have consulted another doctor, who said there are no chances of improvement. We have spent over Rs 21 lakh so far. We cannot afford more,” said Shimaa, also a PhD student. A mother of two children, she said, “I left studies as I was pregnant and went back to Iraq for delivery in October 2013. I returned when my husband was in coma. I have also approached my Embassy for help.”

Fatah continues to be at the hospital in Shivajinagar. In a statement, the hospital said the patient’s relatives have not paid bills since May 31, but they have continued providing medical care on humanitarian grounds.

First published on: 10-08-2014 at 03:24 IST
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