The Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Al-Musaediyah district of Jeddah will soon be closed down because of severe flaws in infrastructure, according to health sources.
The sources said the Civil Defense in a number of reports has called for closing down the hospital and shifting patients already admitted there to other hospitals in the city as quickly as possible.
They said the hospital’s management stopped accepting any new cases for admission and was only accepting emergency cases. They however said they were giving necessary care to women and children who remained in the hospital as inpatients.
Then Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health Dr. Hamad Al-Duwalie had issued an order in January 2016 for the closure of the hospital after a technical committee comprising eight engineers from the health affairs department and the Civil Defense recommended its closure because the building was on the verge of collapse.
However, the order was not executed as the Health Affairs Directorate in Jeddah put the decision on hold.
The hospital continued work as usual though the number of beds was reduced from 256 to 210. It also preserved its 100 incubators for babies born prematurely.
The directorate said evacuation of patients and transfer of the hospital’s medical cadres would be postponed until the special committees formed to take over the task finished their work.
The committees faced a flurry of objections from a number of doctors, technicians and nurses against their transfer to other hospitals in the city.
The Civil Defense said the hospital building was no longer suitable for admitting patients.
It also said water leaked into the rooms whenever it rained and bad smell from the sewage system spread in the entire building.
Officials said the hospital was a disaster waiting to happen because it had no emergency exits and was not easily accessible if a fire broke out or in case of other emergencies.
Following the decision to close down the hospital in 2016, Mansour Al-Toubaiqi, director of planning and development and former director of patient safety at the hospital, was quoted in the local press as saying that he had asked the Ministry of Health and the Civil Defense to intervene before a disaster happened.
He said the tragedy at the Jazan General Hospital, where 25 people died and over 100 were injured in a fire, should be a wake-up call for the ministry officials to intervene in the case. It was discovered that the Jazan hospital had its emergency doors locked, among other safety issues. Al-Toubaiqi said the Musaediyah hospital failed to fulfill safety criteria, which has been confirmed by a series of Civil Defense inspection reports.
He said the Civil Defense had also reported that there was an inadequate fire safety system in the hospital, including the neonatal intensive care ward where 60 newborn babies slept at any given time.
Al-Toubaiqi said the hospital was located in an area that always witnessed heavy traffic, which could impede emergency fire and rescue vehicles.
He said the building was old and overcrowded, which contributed to infecting patients and visitors. The hospital had a high rate of newborn deaths and delivery complications, according to statistics compiled by the department for patient safety.
He said he had sent a letter outlining all the problems to then Health Minister Adel Fakieh, who had ordered a committee investigate all the pertinent issues.
The Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Musaediyah was built in 1978 during the reign of King Khalid Bin Abdulaziz.
A building with a capacity of 400 beds is being constructed for the hospital in north Jeddah. The new building will have eight stories occupying a total area of 81,623 square meters.
No date has been fixed for the opening of the new hospital, which will have obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and emergency wards, laboratories, x-ray and scanning rooms, nurseries and outpatient clinics.