After a lifetime spent treating others, Dr. Amal died without receiving critical care

Dr. Amal Noman Al-Dhubhani, a Sana’a-based doctor well known in the community for her medical expertise and devotion to treating those most in need, passed away earlier this week after contracting COVID-19. In an interview with Almasdar Online, a doctor who worked with Dr. Amal and followed her condition, explained that she was unable to receive the critical care she needed to survive.

“She was a beacon for those looking for a glimmer of light to get rid of the darkness that clouded their eyes,” said her colleague, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal from the local authorities. “But when she was hit by the deadly virus, she did not find an intensive care room or a ventilator to keep her alive.”

Dr. Amal was an assistant professor of ophthalmology in the Faculty of Medicine at Sana’a University, and an ophthalmologist at the Maghrebi (Moroccan) Hospital in Sana’a. Her death last Monday was met with an outpouring of grief from Yemenis both in-country and abroad.

According to her colleague, on the first day of the Eid holiday in late May, Dr. Amal began experiencing a fever and cough, and she quarantined herself beginning on May 30. Her health deteriorated further and she went to a private hospital where she received oxygen and some medicine to relieve her symptoms. Her condition improved, and she returned home. 

“She returned [to the hospital] again on Sunday after her condition deteriorated,” her colleague said, but she could not find a hospital to admit her. “They said they are not receiving corona cases… all the private hospitals refused to receive her on the grounds that there was no space.”

She searched throughout Sana’a for a private hospital receiving COVID-19 cases, knowing she would not find the care she required at any public hospitals. Finally, she was admitted to the Saudi-German hospital. “Dr. Amal was placed in a quarantine room at the request of the Minister of Health in the Houthi government,” her colleague said. 

However, the quarantine ward does not have the proper equipment and capacity to provide critical care, and she was “given only oxygen.” The colleague said that Dr. Amal at this point required an artificial respirator, but she was not given one because she was infected with COVID-19 and “the devices are present in the ICU and cannot be taken to the quarantine room.”

“They left her to suffer until the virus destroyed her respiratory system and she died,” Dr. Amal’s colleague told Almasdar Online.

Dr. Amal was one of Yemen’s most skilled ophthalmologists, Yemeni lawyer Abdulrahman Barman told Almasdar Online. Barman, who is currently based in the United States, said Dr. Amal had been his mother's doctor for several years, and the news of her death had been painful for those who knew her.

“She had a kind heart in general for her patients and in particular for those in need, and she was very humble despite the heavy traffic at her clinic in Maghrabi Hospital,” Barman said.

Dozens of doctors around the country are believed to have passed away due to complications with COVID-19. The deaths of these medical professionals, and especially doctors like Amal who were beacons of light in their communities, marks another major blow to Yemen’s already broken healthcare system.



Edited by Alkhatab Alrawhani



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