BEIRUT — Yasmine al-Masri, a one-year-old girl, died Sunday evening in Akkar, North Lebanon, after being refused admission at multiple hospitals, L’Orient Today’s correspondent in North Lebanon reported.
Here’s what we know:
• According to our correspondent, the girl, from the village of Mouhammara, had been suffering from gastric and intestinal pain. The girl’s father told our correspondent that on Sunday morning, his daughter was refused entry to two hospitals on the grounds that no pediatric department could accommodate her and a third facility denied admission until her parents could pay a $1,000 deposit. A fourth hospital that the father visited requested the infant’s transfer to Beirut. Before such a transfer could be made, the girl died in the late afternoon.
• The child's funeral took place in the evening, in Mouhammara, in an atmosphere of sadness and anger, our correspondent reported, adding that those present asked the Health Ministry to open an investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy and to identify those responsible for the death of the child.
• On Monday morning, the Health Ministry said in a statement that the Directorate for Medical Care “has since yesterday been undertaking an open investigation into the circumstances of the death of the child Yasmine al-Masri in the north.” Director of Medical Care Joseph Helou has asked the medical directors of all the hospitals that the family of the child visited, have been summoned to the Health Ministry to listen to their testimony on Tuesday morning on June 21,” the ministry said. “The family members of the child have also been asked to be listened to regarding the details of what happened with them while they were trying to treat their child, and accordingly, based on what is required, the next legal and administrative steps will be taken.
• Contacted by L'Orient Today, a doctor at Nini Hospital who wished not to be named, the second facility where the parents and the girl went, said that Masri was admitted to the emergency room. "They arrived with the results of blood tests, carried out in another place, on which nothing abnormal was found," says this source. "We had to conduct further tests to find out what the child was suffering from, but her father refused and decided to go somewhere else," the doctor continued, adding that the child was in pain and vomiting.
• Like most sectors in Lebanon, the health sector has been deteriorating as Lebanon suffers from an unprecedented economic crisis, which has led many medical professionals, including pediatricians, to leave the country and left hospitals struggling to cover their costs.