While COVID-infected caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan is in a good health condition, practicing his work from his hospital room, critically ill patients looking for space in full hospitals are being told to manage at home.
The Health Ministry’s press office announced that Hasan “looked into transactions and signed the ministry’s mail” all while being treated with full care at St. George hospital.
While officials are being granted priority to health care, civilians are complaining of being refused access to treatment by the overwhelmed hospitals.
Rachelle Halabi is among the Lebanese people who faced that unfairness when she rushed her 85-year-old father with COVID-19 to a hospital in Beirut. They were sent them home as intensive care was full.
“The ER doctor told us to go back, get him an oxygen machine, and give him his treatment from home,” Halabi told AFP. “We went with it for several days, but his condition did not improve.”
Halabi herself eventually tested positive for COVID-19.
The small country of around 6 million people has been registering soaring daily cases in the 4,000-5,000 range and sometimes exceeding it, causing the health care sector to reach a breaking point.
The Lebanese Red Cross president Georges Kettaneh told AFP that they have been “transporting around 100 patients in need of hospital treatment a day.”
However, many patients are left at the entrance of hospitals. “Sometimes the Red Cross is forced to leave patients on stretchers outside of the hospital because we are unable to admit them,” head of the cardiology department at Rizk Hospital, Dr. George Ghanem, recently revealed.
As the situation unravels tragically, for the common people, there seems to be always a place for the officials and their family members.
A few hours after Hamad Hasan’s admission to St George Hospital, his son Karim revealed that he too had COVID-19 and was being admitted to hospital, citing old health conditions.
Karim bluntly stated that “there’s no need to panic,” using the infamous quote of his father, both of whom apparently needed not to panic “for sure” – as he noted – since their access to health care was guaranteed.
He also reassured the public about his father’s health stability on his Instagram story, all while social media platforms are full of messages from distressed families pleading for help in finding a hospital bed for relatives.
It is to note that, according to health workers, the minister “has no reason for admission, obviously doesn’t have hypoxic respiratory failure.”