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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Qatar health ministry responds after online furor over woman’s death

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Ministry of Public Health building
Ministry of Public Health building

With reporting from Riham Sheble

Qatar’s health ministry has finally broken its silence over the recent death of a Qatari woman following a social media outcry.

In a statement, the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) said that for the past two months, a committee has been investigating the circumstances surrounding the patient’s demise.

Shorooq Al-Sulaiti died on May 22 after giving birth to her son at Women’s Hospital, which is run by Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC).

A critical newspaper cartoon that reads, "Results of the investigation into the death of a citizen at Women's Hospital"
A critical newspaper cartoon that reads, “Results of the investigation into the death of a citizen at Women’s Hospital”

Doctors told her husband Ali Ghanim Al-Himaidi that embryonic fluid escaped into her bloodstream and caused her death.

But concerned that his wife was not given proper medical care, he disputed the report and demanded further investigation.

After weeks of silence from officials, he went public with his story this week, sparking an online furor about the case.

Still investigating

In response to hundreds of critical tweets and critical media coverage, MOPH issued a statement last night providing an update about the investigation.

It said that the ministry had ordered a probe in May, and that an HMC-led committee looking into Al-Sulaiti’s death submitted a report to MOPH yesterday.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The Qatar Council of Healthcare Practitioners (QCHP) is also studying the issue, it added.

That independent body was established by Emiri decree in 2013 to “protect the health and safety of the citizens and residents of the State of Qatar by ensuring that all licensed healthcare practitioners are competent and fit to practice.”

MOPH concluded by extending its condolences to the family of the deceased, and saying:

They “will be told the result of the investigation as soon as the process is concluded and the necessary actions will be taken accordingly.”

Unsatisfied

Many on social media this morning did not appear to be mollified by the ministry’s response, criticizing it for coming too late:

Translation: Where has the minister been for 50 days? Now that the case has become a matter of public opinion, then there needs to be an open discussion, Madame Minister. Is it to this extent that there’s no transparency?

Other continued to express their sympathies and support for Al-Sulaiti’s family. The deceased leaves behind a newborn son and a four-year-old daughter.

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