Jordan will not press charges in case of coronavirus death after hospital power cut

Sana Al Najjar died at a private hospital in Amman taken over by the state to treat Covid-19 patients

Jordanian authorities decided on Thursday not to press charges in the case of a coronavirus patient who died last week at an Amman hospital after a power cut.

A public prosecutor said Sana Najjar's death was not related to the electricity situation at the hospital. Najjar, who was in her 40s, was on an oxygen machine at Gardens Hospital in west Amman.

The case undermined public confidence in Jordan’s public healthcare system.

It came four months after seven coronavirus patients died at a hospital in the central city of Al Salt that ran out of oxygen.

State television said the prosecutor decided not to conduct any trial in the Gardens Hospital case after a government committee “affirmed that electricity cut-off had nothing to do with the death.”

The Al Salt deaths in March prompted mass demonstrations across Jordan. Security forces cracked down on the protests and arrested hundreds of people.

Several municipal health officials are on trial on negligence charges in the Al Salt hospital case.

Health Minister Firas Al Hawari said Najjar died from “blood clots in the lungs”.

The government rented the 300-bed Gardens Hospital in November to treat coronavirus patients.

Najjar’s relatives said she died not long after an electricity cut-off caused her oxygen machine to stop working, contradicting a public statement by Gardens Hospital director Fayez Abu Humeidan.

Mr Humeidan said an electricity short circuit caused a five-minute failure in the lighting at the intensive care ward Najjar was in.

He said the short-circuit did not affect any machines at the ward and that Najjar's condition was critical before the problem.

Najjar’s husband, Mohammad Dughamin, said the power cut-off lasted 20 minutes and caused the oxygen machine his wife was on to stop.

She died 10 minutes after the power cut-off because she was without an oxygen supply, said Mr Dughamin, who is a physician.

Coronavirus case numbers in Jordan surged this month. Public adherence to social distancing and mask wearing dropped sharply as the authorities lifted curfews and other virus restrictions in recent months.

The latest Health Ministry data showed that 21 people on Wednesday died from the coronavirus, while 1,055 infections were officially recorded.

The tally brought official deaths from the pandemic in Jordan to 10,000.

More than 768,000 cases have been officially recorded. But doctors say actual infections in the kingdom of 10 million people far exceed this figure.

Updated: July 29th 2021, 4:30 PM