Thursday, July 24, 2008

British engineer in tears as he recalls wife’s death

The Star, 24th July 2008.

KUALA LUMPUR: It was an emotional day in the High Court as Briton Matthew Scott Oakley tearfully related how his Malaysian wife died while undergoing surgery to remove excess fat in her abdominal area.

Oakley is suing cosmetic surgeon Dr George Varughese, proprietor of a clinic in Bangsar, and freelance anaesthetist consultant Dr Raja Kumar Rajendram, claiming that they had been negligent while treating his wife, Nik Rosemawati Nik Mohamed, which led to her death in 2004.

The 38-year-old civil engineer, who now resides in Dubai, said his 43-year-old wife, a diabetic, sought treatment from Dr Varughese for excess abdominal fat after giving birth to their two children.

Oakley said the procedure recommended by Dr Varughese was removal of fat by liposuction under sedation and local anaesthetic, followed by wearing a compression garment continuously for six months and a tummy tuck. He said Dr Varughese assured him and his wife that the procedure was perfectly safe.

“Nik came out of the treatment room to see me in the waiting room. We kissed and I assured her that everything was going to be OK and she left for the operating theatre. I never thought that it would be the last time we would speak with each other,” Oakley said.

He said his wife was sedated and underwent surgery at 3pm on June 21 2004 at Dr Varughese’s clinic.

He said Dr Varughese later informed him that the operation was successful and he was waiting for Nik Rosemawati to wake up from the anaesthetic. However, at about 8pm, Dr Varughese informed him that Nik Rosemawati’s blood pressure had suddenly gone to zero and her heart stopped and CPR was used to resuscitate her.

He said the doctor then told him that he did not know the reason but said it might be due to shock or reaction to the anaesthetic and it was necessary to transfer her to Gleneagles Intan Hospital in Ampang to see if there was brain damage. Oakley said in the hospital, his wife’s condition continued to deteriorate and she died at 7.50am on June 23, 2004.

In his statement of claim, Oakley - who is seeking RM520,431 in damages for loss and suffering - said a post-mortem revealed that his wife suffered and died from extensive internal haemorrhaging. The defendants denied they were negligent.

The hearing before Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat continues. – Bernama.