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They killed my kid, says grief-stricken father

Hospital plays blame game over fatal medical error

Last updated: Saturday, November 17, 2012 12:07 PM



Khaled Tashkandi
Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — The administration at Dr. Erfan & Bagedo General Hospital here has admitted that a medical mistake resulted in the death of eight-year-old Salah Al-Deen Yusuf Jameel.

In a statement issued Thursday night, the hospital’s administration held a technical maintenance company responsible for the child’s death.

“The mistake happened inside the x-ray room when the maintenance company mixed up the oxygen and nitrogen inlets. The mistake happened during routine maintenance carried out by the company without the knowledge of the concerned authorities in the hospital.”

The statement went on to say that the hospital had lodged an official complaint at Al-Shamaleya police station in Jeddah against the maintenance company and added that the doctor who stands accused in the child’s death managed to flee the country with the help of two employees in human resources.

“The two employees who colluded with the fleeing doctor are being interrogated and police have asked to refer the case to a Shariah court so those responsible for the death can be punished,” the statement concluded.

Sami Badawood, Director of the Health Affairs in Jeddah, said preliminary investigations showed that the child died due to the fact the operation room was not adequately equipped.

“The objective of the operation was to take a biopsy from the lymphatic gland. However, they went ahead with the procedure when the operation room was not equipped for such an operation. Most notably, the child did not receive oxygen.”

Badawood said a team tasked by the Health Affairs to look into the case has already begun investigations into the case. The committee has summoned the hospital’s owner and the medical team that participated in the operation, including the anesthetist and pediatrician.

“Circumstantial evidence shows that the child died due to a lack of oxygen.

The results of the investigation will be disclosed Saturday. It must also be mentioned that the hospital has deleted vital information from the child’s medical records,” he said while adding that the hospital was accountable for the escape of the errant doctor. He accused the hospital of turning a deaf ear to all previous warnings made by the Health Affairs.

Minister of Health Abdullah Al-Rabeah has been personally following up the case and has asked for an urgent report about the cause of the child’s death.

The child’s father, Yusuf Abdul Latif Jameel, said his son died because of the hospital’s negligence.

He further said his son was given general anesthesia instead of local anesthesia.

Jameel said the child was accompanied by his mother to the hospital for a checkup after he developed early symptoms of swollen lymphatic nodes.

“Doctors told his mother that the operation would not take more than 30 minutes. We later learned that the treating doctor had admitted Salah into an x-ray room that was not equipped for any kind of surgical operation especially ones that require general anesthesia,” Jameel said while adding that his son died because he was given an oxidized nitrogen dose instead of oxygen.

“Doctors discovered the mistake too late as 17 minutes had already passed and the entire circulatory system had been completely damaged. Also, the presence of the child in an unequipped room made it impossible for the doctors to resuscitate his heart,” he added.

Rahmah Jameel, the child’s mother, said her son suffered from an acute flu which lasted 15 days and when he recovered, his private doctor noticed that the child’s throat was swollen and recommended his lymphatic gland be scanned at a hospital.

“I took him in walking and left with his dead body,” said Rahmah.

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