Death of 8-month-old raises neglect concerns at private hospitals
Natalie Amgad - Screen shot from youtube video

CAIRO: A police report filed against a private hospital and a doctor over medical negligence in the death of an 8-month-old girl has brought to light a disturbing trend of medical malpractice in some private hospitals.

The girl, Natalie Amgad, went to the American Hospital in Heliopolis on Aug. 6 to receive saline injections after she was diagnosed with intestinal catarrh—an inflammation of mucous membranes inside the intestines—at another hospital. This is according to her father Amgad in an interview on ONTV’s “El-Sada el-Mohtarameen” (Respectable Gentlemen) television show on Aug. 30.

“I told the doctor that [Natalie] had not peed since Thursday, but she told me it is normal and there is nothing to be worried about,” he said.

Natalie’s family could not find any pediatricians at the hospital other than Dr. Ghada Fekri, who was late following up on the patient, according to Amgad. “Dr. Ghada only came for a couple of minutes on Friday morning, where she insisted that my daughter was alright,” he said.

“Natalie weighed eight kilograms when she first entered the American Hospital, while on Friday and after two days without peeing or having a catheter, her weight increased two kilograms,” he added in a call to a different ONTV program, “Manshet” (Headline), on Aug. 31.  “She was poisoned by the amount of urine retention.”

He said that American Hospital medical reports indicated his daughter suffered from mild failure in one of her kidneys, and that the treatment she received was insufficient, ultimately causing her death.

“I had to take my daughter to another hospital, as the American Hospital did not have an intensive care room,” Natalie’s father angrily commented. “How can a big hospital like this not have an intensive care unit?!”

The grieving father said his family slowly suffered for 25 days as his daughter’s health deteriorated, until she finally died on Aug. 15. “[How can anyone imagine] a father putting his little daughter in the coffin, and then in the grave?!” he cried.

The hospital first asked us to pay a deposit of 3,000 EGP before her admittance, he added. “After they kept us for three days, they told me to pay the rest of the money in order to take my daughter out. They only cared about money.”

After a complaint was filed against her and the hospital, Fekri, who was accused of negligence by Natalie’s father, denied all the accusations.

“The girl suffered hemolytic uremic syndrome, and this is an expected complication from the intestinal catarrh,” said Fekri to ONTV on Aug. 31. “What happened to her is not due to negligence, and the investigations will prove that.”

Ministry of Health Undersecretary Saber Ghoneim, who is responsible for private hospital regulation, told ONTV on Aug. 26 there has been a committee formed to investigate Natalie’s incident. He also told ONTV, “If negligence was proved to have happened by either the hospital or the doctor in not expecting the case’s complications, she will be punished.”

Another case addressing negligence at the same hospital was that of Rasha Farag, 27, when she suffered a uterine fibroid tumor and entered the American Hospital for treatment.

When her family refused the doctor’s request to remove her uterus, as he said that there might be bleeding, he ended the operation, Ghoneim told ONTV on Aug. 26. “The doctor might have wrongly sewn up the wound, which caused internal bleeding,” she said.

Ghoneim said the medical team responsible for Farag’s case was referred to prosecution for investigation.

Also, on June 9, 2014, 26-year-old journalist Heba al-Ayouti died due to her doctors’ negligence at the private Nile Badrawy Hospital in Maadi. A doctor and two nurses, whose negligence was confirmed by the Forensic Authority, injected Ayouti with a formaldehyde solution instead of radioactive dye when she underwent a scan on her ovaries.

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