Quack Doctor Arrested In Khamis Mushayt

RIYADH, 29 May 2005 — An Asian car mechanic has been arrested for allegedly practicing medicine in Riyadh and Khamis Mushayt for several years. This fraudulent doctor, who was in possession of some fake medical certificates besides medicines, syringes, medical equipment and prescription drugs, is actually a General Motors mechanic by profession, according to reliable sources.

“The fake doctor was detained in Khamis Mushayt following a raid of a private clinic last week. The clinic is mainly visited by poor expatriate workers for treatment and low cost medicines,” said Col. Saad ibn Ahmed Ziyad, director general for immigration in the Asir region.

“The quack doctor was picked up during the clinic’s working hours,” said Sharafatullah Hashim, an Indian worker.

Hashim told Arab News by phone that “the man’s detention is now the talk of the town in Khamis Mushayat and Abha.”

The modus operandi of this mechanic-turned-doctor was not immediately known. But his is not the first case that officials tackled in the past. The Ministry of Health has intensified efforts to blacklist persons with fake degrees and diplomas.

The ministry recently blacklisted 742 doctors of different nationalities who forged documents to seek employment in various health institutions in the country. The highest number of blacklisted doctors were 223 from Egypt, with many from Asian countries too, whose educational certificates were either fake or not found in order, according to an earlier report.

Patients have been complaining about the inefficiency of doctors working in various hospitals, especially in private clinics operated either by foreigners or under the cover of a Saudi sponsor. The patients’ complaints range from wrong diagnosis, unnecessary investigations to generate more income, prolonged period of hospitalization, non-availability of doctors at the time of appointment and sheer carelessness on the part of the doctors and staff in handling serious cases.

The Kingdom’s government and private hospitals employ a total of 31,402 doctors, including 6,218 Saudis, and 66,493 nurses.

According to official reports, there are more than 320 hospitals with 46,840 beds. This includes 189 government hospitals besides thousands of primary health care centers located in different parts of the country.

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