Fake doctors in UAE preying on vulnerable

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Health official warns claims of miracle cures have more to do with witchcraft than medicine

Dubai: The Ministry of Health has clamped down on fake doctors and warned people against falling prey to therapies offered on the internet.

A senior official from the ministry said claims by the so-called doctors are more to do with ‘magic’ and ‘witchcraft” than medicine.

“These doctors are not licensed by the UAE health authorities and claim they have the ability to give treatment for difficult cases,’ said Dr Ameen Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health and Licensing at the Ministry, in a statement on Sunday.

“They use substances of unknown origin that are not registered in the country, without taking into consideration the patient’s need or case,” he said.

The doctor said these doctors prey on elderly people and those suffering from chronic diseases. Dr Al Amiri said social networking sites, blogs and fake testimonials on the internet are tricking people into falling for these fake physicians.
“These people clearly violate the ethics of the medical profession,” he said.

He said an Asian man was caught recently claiming to provide medical services and treatment for difficult diseases. “The ministry caught him in cooperation with competent authorities and transferred him to the public prosecution last week,” he said.

The ministry is urging people to inform it and the legal authorities if they hear of such cases, so that action can be taken.

The doctor cited the case of a fake chiropractor who was caught in the northern emirates.

Dubai Police had earlier revealed cases of women coming to Dubai on visit visas and conning the gullible into believing they had the power to heal. One victim paid Dh20,000 to get rid of a terrible migraine problem and realised she had been cheated, the police said.

Dr Al Amiri said these con artists run their business from hotel rooms.
As the medical and health sector in the UAE has grown rapidly, it has attracted many criminals who wish to cash in on the boom, especially in Dubai that is vying to become the medical tourism hub of the region.

When it realised that many doctors are producing fake degrees, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) set up a strict verification system to weed out the counterfeit certificates such as the “diploma mills” in the US that offered a degree for a price.

Dr Al Amiri warned people seeking such treatment saying that it could have dangerous long-term complications.

The doctor said such fraudulent schemes are not a such a big problem at the moment “but we cannot deny its presence”, he said.

The Health Ministry official said that as in any other society, the economic progress (of the UAE), the high cost of living and the multicultural society are some of the reasons for these types of fraud, he said.

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