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Court hears testimony of top official in Salt hospital oxygen outage case

By JT - Jun 14,2021 - Last updated at Jun 14,2021

AMMAN — The Amman Magistrates Court on Sunday held its 22nd session in the case of the oxygen outage at the New Salt Public Hospital, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

During the session, the court heard the testimony of a former director of a number of public hospitals affiliated with the Ministry of Health, who pointed out that the monitoring of the oxygen tanks is not handled by the Ministry of Health, adding that the matter is entrusted to the hospital’s director.

He highlighted that the employee responsible for monitoring oxygen tanks, who was in one of the peripheral hospitals, holds a high school qualification, noting that “this job does not require training or taking courses”.

He noted that the employee monitoring these tanks writes a report on the stockpile and delivers it directly to the hospital director, who in turn transfers it to his assistant for supply affairs, and accordingly, the oxygen supplying company is asked to supply the tanks with the required quantity.

He said that if the oxygen supply hits below 40 per cent, the hospital director is asked to order oxygen, which is consistent with the director’s testimony heard by the Public Prosecutor of Salt in mid March.

A number of lawyers objected to the witness’ testimony, as they claimed that the Public Prosecution witness had nothing to do with Al Salt Hospital or the incident that occurred in it. 

Lawyers also said that the witness was not an expert, did not know about the hospital’s regulations, did not possess any of “the characteristics of a witness”, and was simply making assumptions.  They asked the court to disregard his testimony.

The court overruled the objection and decided to allow the testimony of the witness to be heard, provided that the value of his testimony should be assessed when examining the evidence.

The court heard another witness, a general physician who works on a rotating basis at the New Salt Hospital, who confirmed that he was not at work on the day of the incident or in the last two days of it.

The number of witnesses heard by the Public Prosecution Office increased to 39, while 10 witnesses were scheduled to be heard by the court in the coming weeks, in addition to the testimony of nine experts in the case, bringing the total number of witnesses and experts in the case to 66.

The court adjourned its session to next Thursday to hear two other prosecution witnesses.

The court began examining the case at the beginning of last April, after the Public Prosecution completed its investigations into the case that took place on March 13 where eight patients died due to oxygen outage resulting in indicting 13 people on eight counts of causing death.


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