TRIPOLI, Lebanon: A state hospital in the northern city of Tripoli Monday denied media reports that it had refused to treat an 18-month-old boy who later died of a lung infection, prompting an investigation into the incident.
Multiple media outlets reported Monday that Mustafa Farouq Dawwash died on the doorstep of the Tripoli Public Hospital in Qibbeh after staff refused to treat him because there were no vacant beds. Other reports said the hospital turned the relatives away for not being able to pay the required medical fees.
But the hospital denied the allegations, insisting the boy had been treated. “Such reports are inaccurate,” the hospital said in a statement. “The child arrived at the hospital’s emergency room and received the necessary treatment without us asking his parents for money, but he died.”
“We ask the media to be more accurate in its news,” it added.
General Director of the Tripoli Public Hospital Naser Adra told The Daily Star: “The boy was admitted to the hospital at midnight Sunday in a grave situation. He was admitted to the emergency room where the doctors on call tried to save his life. However, they failed.
“The child died due to a severe infection in his lungs and a weak heart, which meant he couldn’t endure the treatment given to him.”
“The surveillance cameras at the entrance of the ER and inside the hospital will disprove the reports published by several news websites in which they accused the hospital of refusing to admit the boy before receiving fees from his parents.”
The controversy over the infant’s death led the general prosecutor’s office in the north to launch an investigation, charging coroner Bilal Sabbouh with investigating and examining the boy’s body.
A postmortem may be performed if necessary to determine the exact cause of death and establish whether the child underwent any treatment from the hospital’s emergency room staff.
Sabbouh, in a phone call with The Daily Star, refused to discuss the causes of the child’s death, adding that the results of the examination had been given to the general prosecution, which was responsible for making the report’s contents public.
Tripoli has seen several similar cases before. Toddler Moemin al- Mohammad was denied treatment by several hospitals in the city in April when he was suffering from a fever. He later died at the doors of Tripoli’s Dar al-Shifaa Hospital.
The child’s parents, who did not have insurance, were told they would have to pay approximately $1,000 to get their son, who was just under 2 months old, into the hospitals, including Dar al-Shifaa.
The boy’s father eventually managed to secure the necessary funds but by then it was already too late.