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5 top health officials get 3-year prison terms in Salt oxygen outage case

By Rana Husseini , Petra - Dec 05,2021 - Last updated at Dec 05,2021

AMMAN — The Amman Court of First Instance on Sunday sentenced five top health officials to three years in prison each on several charges related to the oxygen outage case at the New Salt Public Hospital that claimed the lives of 10 patients in March.

The defendants, including the hospital director and other employees, stood trial in the case on 10 counts of causing death by association and for violating articles 343 and 76 of the Penal Code.

The five convicted included four former directors and an oxygen technician at the hospital, the Jordan News Agency, Petra reported.

The court also ordered each defendant to pay JD3,575 in fines, Petra reported.

Eight other men, including former officials and hospital employees, were acquitted by the court for lack of evidence.

The defendants pleaded not guilty during their opening trial in April.

The convicted defendants have around 30 days to appeal their verdicts in higher courts.

Over 75 witnesses and experts testified during the 10-month trial on matters related to prior knowledge of the Prevention Department in the Civil Defence Department and the contents of the hospitals and staff cameras on March 13, the day of the incident.

The court also heard expert and witness testimonies on the duration of the oxygen disruption, functionality of the gas system, the deteriorating health status of the affected patients, the Building Management System (BMS) and government autopsy results.

The prosecution office indicated in its investigation that all the defendants failed to follow proper cautions and considerations of laws and regulations, whether they were from the Ministry of Health or affiliated with the hospital administration.

This, according to the prosecution office, resulted in an oxygen outage at the ICU for around one hour, which ultimately resulted in several deaths and further health complications to the patients who were at the unit on March 13.

Government health officials confirmed that all the deceased in this incident were COVID-19 patients and all were above the age of 40.

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