Reporting Adverse Medical Occurrences

Reporting Adverse Medical Occurrences – UAE Law



Reporting Adverse Medical Occurrences

An adverse occurrence is an unplanned or unexpected event causing injury or the potential for injury to a patient. The concerned insurance company should be notified immediately of the adverse event and they shall help and advise consequently.


Reporting adverse occurrences is important for several reasons:

  • Monitoring “incidents” helps identify potentially recurring problems that might affect quality patient care.
  • Arrangements for further patient care or treatment can be made if necessary.
  • Prompt reporting allows the Risk Management staff to properly assess situations from a liability standpoint.


The following should always be advised:

  • Surgical problems:
  1. Invasive diagnostic or surgical procedure performed on the wrong patient.
  2. Wrong invasive diagnostic or surgical procedure performed on a patient.
  3. Adverse result from anesthesia.
  4. Laceration/tear or perforation/puncture of an organ or other body part as a result of an invasive procedure.
  5. Unexpected return of a patient to the operating room during the same admission, or transfer to the operating room following delivery of a baby.
  6. Surgery for removal of a foreign object left in the operative site unintentionally.
  7. Acute myocardial infarction during or up to 72 hours following surgery.
  8. Sponge, needle, foreign object or other material left in operative site unintentionally or because of impossible retrieval.
  9. Unplanned removal, partial removal or repair of a normal body organ or body part during an operative procedure.
  10. Unexpected nerve damage not addressed during informed consent.
  11. CVA during or within 72 hours of elective surgery.
  12. Death occurring within 72 hours of elective surgery.


  • Newborn/Infant injury or death:
  1. Infant injury during labor/delivery.
  2. APGAR less than 5 at 5 minutes in an infant > 34 weeks EGA.
  3. Any unexpected death of an infant up to 4 weeks of age during hospitalization.




  • Other patient injury or death:
  1. Patient injured in any kind of transport.
  2. Equipment or instrument breakage or malfunction resulting in injury.
  3. Patient falls resulting in injury.
  4. Intubation resulting in injury.
  5. Injury due to documented improper technique, personnel error, equipment failure or unexplained etiology.
  6. Cardiac or respiratory arrest outside of an intensive or emergency care setting that is not attended by the STAT team and where there is no DNR order on the patient’s chart.
  7. Any incident that occurs to a patient that causes harm, injury or undetermined adverse effects.
  8. Any unexpected death.


  • Transfusion or medication problems:
  1. Transfusion acquired AIDS or hepatitis.
  2. Hemolytic transfusion reaction.
  3. Medication error resulting in harm or potential for harm.


  • Patient dissatisfaction or procedural problems:
  1. Any suggestion or implication by the patient or family of seeking legal counsel regarding any incident.
  2. Family anger or hostility over care or treatment given a patient, either in-patient or out-patient.
  3. Absence of or improper informed consent.
  4. Discharge against medical advice.


Important Considerations for Protection:

Other than the patient’s record, no written, photocopied or recorded personal accounts of adverse occurrences should be kept by the involved individuals. Never enter a note in the patient record that an occurrence report has been completed or that parties other than the patient or their families have been notified. If the existence of an occurrence report is noted in the chart, it signals that someone believes an untoward event has occurred, thereby allowing the plaintiff attorney to subpoena whoever wrote the note to testify as to the contents of the occurrence report (even thought the document itself may be confidential).

In the event that any injury is due to equipment, discontinue the equipment’s use without any alterations, adjustments, cleaning or manipulations. Notify the insurance company and be sure to communicate that injury was involved. They will provide the necessary advise. Make sure that to follow up if action is not taken within one working day. DO NOT send broken devices back to the manufacturer. DO NOT discard any part of the equipment or its packaging.



Mohamed Mahmoud Al Marzooqi law firm

Attorney / Mohamed Al Marzooqi
Mohamed Al Marzooqi advocates & Consultancy
Lawyer in Abu Dhabi, Dubai – UAE


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