Jordanian Health Minister Resigns After Oxygen Failure Kills Patients | News on the coronavirus pandemic
Anger in Jordan as several COVID-19 patients die when their oxygen supply is depleted at a government hospital.
Jordan’s health minister has resigned amid growing anger over the deaths of several COVID-19 patients in a hospital when their oxygen supply ran out.
State media reported at least seven deaths at the al-Salt city government hospital on Saturday, some 20 kilometers (13 miles) north of the capital, Amman, but medical sources told Al Jazeera that at least 12 patients had died as a result. of the incident.
Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh ordered an investigation, while King Abdullah II arrived at the hospital to help calm angry families who had gathered outside.
Denouncing the incident, the king also ordered the suspension of the hospital director, according to al-Mamlaka television.
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In video footage that circulated online, the King can be heard telling the hospital director, “How could such a thing happen? This is unacceptable.”
About 150 relatives of the patients had gathered outside the facility, which was surrounded by a large deployment of police and security guards, who prevented families from entering.
At a press conference, Health Minister Nathir Obeidat said he “bears full moral responsibility for the incident at al-Salt hospital,” adding that the problem is now resolved and hospital patients were receiving oxygen.
“ An obvious carelessness ”
Medical sources told Al Jazeera that the oxygen cut began at 6 a.m. and lasted until 8 a.m., prompting the hospital administration to call for help. ambulances and civil protection teams.
The oxygen blackout hit the hospital’s intensive care, maternity and coronavirus departments. Witnesses said when oxygen was depleted, they were forced to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on their own family members to try to keep them alive.
“My father and mother are in the coronavirus isolation area inside the hospital – and I happened to be inside when suddenly the oxygen was cut off,” said Fares Kharabsha, the son of two coronavirus patients.
“When we asked the staff, they said we were running out of oxygen and they were waiting for an oxygen truck to supply the hospital.
“We received help from the civil defense, some of them were inside the hospital, they provided oxygen cylinders and they started resuscitating patients, including my parents.”
The deaths come as the daily number of virus cases in Jordan has risen in recent weeks, prompting authorities to reimpose restrictions, including an all-day curfew on Friday, the day of rest and prayer.
The country has reported more than 465,000 cases and some 5,200 deaths during the pandemic.
It launched its vaccination campaign in mid-January with the intention of vaccinating more than four million inhabitants in 2021.
Jordan received 144,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday as part of the global COVAX initiative, which aims to share COVID-19 injections with more than 90 low- and middle-income countries.
The European Union has allocated eight million euros ($ 9.6 million) to support the purchase of vaccines by Jordan. A second shipment of COVAX is expected in April.