Dubai court sentences Austrian doctor to life in prison
Sunday, 21 October 2012
DUBAI: A Dubai court convicted an Austrian doctor of premeditated murder and sentenced him to life in prison on Sunday after he gave orders to switch off a patient's life-support, a local daily reported.
The online edition of the National newspaper said the court found that in February 2009, Eugen Adelsmayr, chief medic at the Rashid government hospital intensive care unit, "allowed a quadriplegic patient, Ghulam Mohammed, to die after (he) shut down his life-support system."
The court said that Adelsmayr had "issued DNR (Do Not Resuscitate)" orders to the staff and then "supervised" its implementation.
Adelsmayr, who was convicted in absentia and currently lives in Austria, told Austria's APA news agency that the verdict was "a farce," arguing that the judgement was "unfounded."
According to the report, Adelsmayr further accused the court of "ignoring" evidence that would have exonerated him.
A second defendant, an Indian doctor who according to the National was the attending physician on the day of the incident and was charged with "refusing to resuscitate" the patient, was acquitted.
Euthanasia and DNR orders are illegal in the United Arab Emirates.
"The orders, which were issued verbally then backed up by writing, violated the medical practice code in Dubai," said Ashraf al-Houthy, a medical consultant on the hospital committee assigned to investigate the incident.
He told prosecutors that "the patient was conscious and not clinically dead."
Adelsmayr, who wrote a book about his ordeal, left Dubai in September 2011 to be with his ailing wife. He cannot appeal the verdict from abroad. (AFP)