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Son’s desperate attempt to save father after Jordanian hospital ran out of oxygen

AMMAN: The son of an elderly Jordanian man who died from COVID-19 after the hospital ran out of oxygen has described the heartbreaking moments when his father could no longer breath.

Saleh Awad Allawansah, 75, was one of seven patients who died at the Al-Hussein New Salt Hospital on Saturday in a tragedy that has sparked widespread anger in the kingdom.

Mahmoud Saleh Allawansah told Arab News that the resignation of Jordan’s health minister was not enough.

“I hold the prime minister accountable and I wish that legal proceedings take place and that all those involved in this incident receive the right punishment with no mercy,” he said, his voice shaking with anger.

Allawansah described how the family had taken his father to the hospital at the start of the month, but noticed straight away the poor standard of care “including medical and security staff, equipment and hygiene.”

“We were with my father, sometimes carrying out the duties of nurses and were doing the cleaning to protect him,” Allawansah said.

Despite the family’s best efforts, Saleh’s condition started to deteriorate.

Last week, doctors told the family that the virus had caused inflammation in the lung and that he required the use of a device to aid his breathing.

“The inflammation was no doubt large but the doctor told us many patients with even worse cases had recovered,” Saleh said.

The family said it was about 5:30 a.m. on Saturday when oxygen levels at the hospital started going down.

“It did not come to my mind that there would be an oxygen problem in the hospital because when you talk about oxygen in a modern hospital that all the Salt city residents are proud of … we never expected a problem,” Allawansah said.

“I thought it might be a simple thing maybe caused by the way my father was sitting on the chair. It took me almost 30 minutes changing my father’s seating position on the right, left, on the bed and chair until I figured out a position where I felt my father was comfortable.

“Then we sat and put the lights off over the bed. (After) only 15 minutes my father couldn’t fight the lack of oxygen,and then my father passed away. I knew it from the change in the computer screen and from the change of the color of his face, which turned yellow. I called the nurses who tried to resuscitate him but all in vain, my father passed away.”



The hospital’s director and four others have been detained for questioning amid the fall out from the tragedy.

King Abdullah visited the facility on Saturday and angrily ordered the director to step down.

Jordan’s parliament held emergency sessions on Sunday as protests took place across the country.

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