Warning of poor safety at Jeddah maternity hospital

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JEDDAH: A maternity and children’s hospital here is a disaster waiting to happen because it has no emergency exits, high rates of infection resulting in deaths, and not easily accessible if a fire breaks out or medical emergencies.
This is according to Mansour Al-Toubaiqi, director of planning and development and former director of patient safety at Al-Musaediyah Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Jeddah, who said he has asked the Ministry of Health and the Civil Defense to intervene before a disaster occurs.
He said the Jazan General Hospital tragedy, where 25 people died and over 100 were injured in a fire, should be a wakeup call for ministry officials to intervene in the Jeddah case. It was discovered that the Jazan hospital had its emergency doors locked, among other safety issues.
Al-Toubaiqi said that Al-Musaediyah hospital failed to fulfill safety criteria, which has been confirmed by a series of Civil Defense reports. This includes the lack of emergency fire exits.
He said the Civil Defense has also reported that there is an inadequate fire extinguishing system in the neo-natal intensive care section where 60 newborn babies sleep at any given time.
Al-Toubaiqi said the hospital is situated in an area that is always jammed with traffic, which can impede emergency fire and rescue vehicles, and if rapid intervention is needed for certain medical situations such as childbirth.
He said the building is old and overcrowded, which has contributed to infection of patients and visitors, resulting in a high proportion of newborn deaths and delivery complications, according to statistics of the department he had formerly led.
He said that he had sent a letter outlining all the problems to former Health Minister Adel Fakeih, who had ordered that a committee investigate all the issues.
Abdullah Al-Ghamdi, spokesperson of the Jeddah health department, said a committee comprising health and Civil Defense officials, including four engineers, are currently assessing the facility.
He said everything would be done to ensure the facility is safe for patients. The facility would be moved once a new building in the north of Jeddah is ready for occupation, he said.

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