Saudi Gazette – A medical report has revealed that three newly-born babies in the intensive care unit of King Fahd Hospital in Baha had died of a virus and a suspected bacterial infection in September without being announced.

The report, compiled by a specialized committee, recalled that five babies died two weeks ago of the same symptoms thus raising to eight the number of the babies who died in the hospital’s ICU due to infections.

Dr. Nahla Abdul Hameed, director of the Health Ministry’s department for combating infections, was heading the committee. She said five children got the infection about three months ago and three of them died, but the hospital did not reveal the news of deaths.

“The hospital did not only hide their deaths but failed to take any measure to prevent the recurrence of such incidents,” she said.

The report said the committee had noticed a number of shortcomings in the hospital, including the lack of a doctor specialized in combating infections.

It also said the ICU for the prematurely born babies was overcrowded with 33 babies while its actual capacity was only 26.

“There was an acute shortage of nurses and there was no mechanism in place to control the use of antibiotics in the hospital’s pharmacy,” the report said.

The report was forwarded to the assistant director general of health affairs in the region. The official refused to comment saying he was not authorized to make press statements. He also said the report was confidential and no one should have looked at it.

However, spokesman for the Health Ministry Faisal Al-Zahrani said the report was forwarded to an investigation committee and added that its decision would be announced as soon as it was received.

The health minister set up a committee last week to investigate the deaths of five newly-born children at the hospital in one night to pin responsibility.

A team from the Bureau of Investigations and Public Prosecution (BIP) was also questioning a number of doctors and officials in the hospital to determine the causes of death of and hold the responsible doctors, nurses and technicians accountable.

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