Matthew Scott Oakley Abdullah was by his wife’s side at the hospital before she died.
KUALA LUMPUR: "We kissed and I assured her that everything was going to be okay before she went into the operating theatre. I never thought that it would be the last time we would speak with each other."
A distraught Matthew Scott Oakley Abdullah broke down in court yesterday as he recalled the last moments with his wife.
With tears flowing, Oakley told High Court judge Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat how he lost his wife, Nik Rosemawati Nik Mohamed, 43, following an operation.
He cried again when he told the court of how he was by Nik Rosemawati's bedside at the Intensive Care Unit when various alarms from the monitors started to go off. The doctor later informed him that his wife had died.
Oakley, a civil engineer from the United Kingdom was testifying against plastic surgeon Dr George Varughese and an-aesthetist Dr R. Raja Kumar.
In his suit filed on June 10, 2006, Oakley, among others, claimed that the two doctors had failed to use reasonable care and skill in monitoring and assessing his wife's condition.
He is claiming RM520,431 for general and special damages, apart from interest, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.
Yesterday, Oakley told the court that his wife had consulted Dr Varughese to remove fatty tissue around her abdomen, which developed after her second pregnancy.
"She was concerned over the large amount of fatty tissue as well as excess skin hanging around her waist." To a question by his counsel, Renu Zechariah, Oakley said Dr Varughese recommended a full tummy tuck which included liposuction and corrective surgery to remove the fat and skin.
The couple was informed that it would cost about RM9,000. When they told the doctor the charges were higher than expected, he suggested that the operation could be done at his clinic at a lower cost. He also offered the Oakleys staggered payment over six months.
Oakley said Dr Varughese told Nik Rosemawati that the surgery was a simple procedure requiring two or three small incisions.
"Dr Varughese also suggested that my wife be sedated and that he would be using local anaesthetic to ensure that she did not feel anything."
Oakley, who has since moved to Dubai with his two children, Sarah Rose, 9, and Daniel Adam, 6, said that the doctor was fully apprised of his wife's medical history.
Nik Rosemawati checked into the clinic at 2pm on June 21, 2004, and two hours later, she went for the operation.
"Dr Raja was in attendance and had administered the anaesthetic on my wife during the operation."
He said that at 6.30pm, Dr Varughese had informed him that the operation was successful.
"However, about 7.10pm, I was told that my wife had suffered a cardiac arrest and that resuscitation procedures were undertaken. My wife was then put on a ventilator."Oakley said arrangements were then made about 11pm to transfer Nik Rosemawati to the Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre.
"Nik Rosemawati was at the ICU for two days where her condition continued to deteriorate and she died on June 23, 2004, without regaining consciousness."
In his statement of claim, Oakley said the post-mortem report revealed that his wife had suffered extensive internal bleeding and the cause of death was stated as "Acute Intraabdominal Injury (Perioperative Death)".
In their statements of defence, Dr Varughese and Dr Raja denied negligence. Dr Varughese argued that at all times, he had acted with the skill and diligence expected of a medical practitioner, while Dr Raja claimed that the injury suffered by the deceased was due to the abdominal liposuction carried out by Dr Varughese and did not have any connection to the anaesthetic given by him.
The hearing will continue on April 6 next year.