If you are familiar with little Ella Tannous’s case, you’ll find that it has a lot in common with Sophie Mechleb’s case.
Both kids were victims of medical malpractice in Lebanon, both children and their parents suffered greatly, both didn’t give up, and they both got justice a few days ago, after 5 years of fighting for it in Lebanese courts.
Most importantly, in both cases, the truth triumphed over influence and powerful political connections. This medical mistake cost little Sophie her eyesight and her ability to walk, just like it cost Ella her limbs.
Little Sophie underwent a surgery she didn’t need, and was given 5 times over her weight’s dose of anesthesia in an inadequately equipped hospital; consequently, the doctors were inadequate, too.
This was the first lawsuit against the Doctors’ Syndicate in Lebanon after the latter attempted to hide Sophie’s medical file and present the court a false report.
Sophie’s parents were determined to win the lawsuit and to give their daughter her right, knowing very well that nothing will amend them or Sophie what they’ve lost.
However, they wanted their little Sophie to be an angel that will prevent this from happening to anyone else.
Her father Faouzi Mechleb said: “Sophie’s case won’t be like the previous ones. What went on before Sophie won’t be what goes on after Sophie. Medical corruption in Lebanon is more dangerous than financial corruption.”
“Once your health is permanently damaged, nothing will make up for it,” Mechleb stated.
He went on to reveal the following: “After my daughter’s incident, I sent the head of the Doctors Syndicate many warnings, affirming to him that Sophie’s case will be different. I told him that I won’t sit motionless while they try to hide the truth and the evidence.”
Mechleb did carry his promise through, refusing to back off. “I went to court with article 446 of the Penal Code, which condemns any doctor who gives a false report,” he said.
As if it wasn’t enough that their little girl was so harmed for life, the parents had to also fight deceits and false reports in courts.
Mechleb recounted: “The syndicate insisted on giving the false report. I warned them and they did not believe me. They thought that their influence and political connections will prevent the truth from getting out.”
Five years of lawsuits and investigations and political pressure finally paid off. The investigating judge Sandra El-Mehtar issued a presumptive decision against the former head of the Doctors Syndicate Raymond El-Sayegh, and the head of the Investigations Committee of the Doctors Syndicate Claude Semaan.
Their crime is that they issued a false report in the child’s case. Faouzi Mechleb was sure that the article 466 will bring him and his family justice, and it did, of course with help from the honest judge.
The punishment for this crime, according to the article, is two years in prison or the end of practice. The trial will take place in about 2 months from now.
Faouzi had an epiphany 5 years ago: “Before Sophie won’t be like after Sophie.”
Causing damages, direct harm, lying, hiding the truth, protecting criminals through might and power, and not holding them accountable, that all must end in the health sector in Lebanon.
The Mechleb family reached the goals they set for themselves, no other person or kid will fall victim to such mistakes. And if they will, they won’t go unnoticed or get overlooked anymore.
These loving fathers, Faouzi Mechleb and Hassan Tannous, so determined to seek justice for the harm done unto their little daughters, have also paved the way for all previous victims to be able to get justice.