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Mother dies ‘of food poisoning’; daughter, husband in ‘good condition’

By Laila Azzeh , Petra - Oct 16,2014 - Last updated at Oct 16,2014

AMMAN — The mother of a three-year-old boy, who passed away on Wednesday of food poisoning, died on Thursday, official sources said.

Cerine Shawar, 28, ate burgers with her husband, son, and daughter at a restaurant at the Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea on Tuesday night, after which they started exhibiting symptoms of food poisoning, the children’s uncle, Ashraf Oweiwi, told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

Oweiwi said the resort’s nurse was called to check on their situation and the family was then taken to the Southern Shuneh Hospital.

“The resident doctor maintained that they had food poisoning and referred them to a hospital in Amman for gastric lavage, as it could not be performed at the Shuneh hospital,” Oweiwi said, adding that the physician gave them an injection to relieve the symptoms until they reached the capital.

On the way, the boy, Eziddin, died in his parents’ arms, leaving them in complete shock and denial, the uncle said.

The family, who live in Saudi Arabia, were vacationing at the Dead Sea.

Shawar and her eight-month-old daughter were admitted to the intensive care unit at a private hospital in Amman before her condition deteriorated.

The father and daughter are now in “very good” condition, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Southern Shuneh Hospital Director Fayez Kharabsheh told Petra that the four family members came to the hospital on Tuesday suffering from vomiting, fatigue and stomach pain.

“Examinations showed that they had food poisoning, and they were given the necessary medication,” he said, adding that their condition was stable and that the father insisted on leaving the hospital on Wednesday morning and returning to the resort despite the medical team’s advice to remain under medical supervision.

The father then called a specialised doctor from Amman to come to the hotel to treat them, according to Kharabsheh, who noted that their situation worsened on the way to a hospital in Amman, when the boy died.

“Remaining seven-to-eight hours outside the hospital without receiving the necessary treatment might be the reason why the situation of the family developed this way,” he said.

Although several forensic doctors announced on Thursday that Shawar and her son died of food poisoning, the Health Ministry formed a committee comprising doctors from public and university hospitals to identify the exact cause of death.

“The committee will determine what caused the food poisoning,” said Mohammad Abdullat, director of the ministry’s communicable diseases department.

He told The Jordan Times that the mother suffered from pneumonitis and that laboratory tests showed that she did not have coronavirus.

Abdullat noted that the restaurant where the family ate dinner was closed down.

Meanwhile, Amman Attorney General Ziad Dmour said Southern Shuneh Prosecutor General Mamdouh Alayeen had initiated an investigation into the incident, and issued orders to seal the family’s hotel room with their belongings.

Dmour said the bodies of the mother and son were referred to the National Institute for Forensic Medicine, and a committee of five experts was formed to take samples from the bodies to determine the exact cause of death.

“The cause of death will be announced after the test results,” Petra quoted Dmour as saying.

Also on Thursday, the human rights coordinator at the Prime Ministry, Basil Tarawneh, said the government is in contact with the concerned authorities to collect the required data that identify the exact cause of Shawar and her son’s death, Petra reported.

Petra also quoted Jordan Food and Drug Administration Director Hayel Obeidat as saying that the family ordered food from a restaurant near the resort’s pool and ate some of it there before taking the rest to their hotel room.

Samples have been taken from the restaurant and the meal itself to identify the cause of the poisoning, Obeidat added, noting that it will take around 48 hours for preliminary results.

In a statement sent to The Jordan Times on Wednesday, hotel manager Bassam Abu Hassan said an investigation is under way into the incident.

“This has been a most tragic and unfortunate incident and we are working with authorities to determine the cause,” Abu Hassan said.

The hotel, he noted, is “taking this matter very seriously and although no other guests have been affected, we are performing a full internal review to ensure we safeguard the health and safety of our guests as this is paramount to us”.

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