Saudi Arabian child died due to breaking swab inside

It was reported on 15 July 2020 that a  one and a half year old Saudi Arabian child died due to a coronavirus swab breaking inside his nasal cavity, after medical staff in a hospital in the Kingdom performed the COVID-19 test because he had a fever.   The Kingdom’s Minister of Health Tawfiq bin Fawzan al-Rabiah ordered an investigation into the incident and called the father of the child to offer his condolences and vowed to follow up on the case personally.

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The child’s uncle and legal guardian, Mosaed al-Joufan, told Al Arabiya: “He did not suffer from any chronic or dangerous diseases. He complained Friday evening of a fever and we took him to Shaqra General Hospital with his mother.”

After he was examined by a doctor, they decided to conduct a nasal swab, even though he was in good health and only complained of a high temperature.”      The uncle said the swab broke inside the child’s nasal cavity, so the doctor decided to put him under general anesthesia to extract the broken swab from the child’s nose.

“At around 1 a.m., they informed me the operation was over and that the doctor was able to take the swab out.”

Al-Joufan added that after his nephew woke up, he asked the nurse for the specialist doctor to examine the boy after the operation, check his status and ensure that the swab was taken out completely and that there was no bleeding or difficulty breathing.

But the nurse said the doctor was not available and asked the mother to wait, al-Joufan said.

At 9 a.m. in the morning, the boy lost consciousness, and the medical staff found that he wasn’t breathing and performed CPR, according to the uncle.

“I then came to the hospital and asked for the specialist doctor to come. He performed an X-ray which showed that a blockage of the airway in one of the lungs, according to the radiologist.”

Al-Joufan said: “When the child’s condition deteriorated, I asked that he be transported to a specialist hospital in Riyadh to save his life. The request was approved early, but we sat in the hospital waiting for an ambulance which did not reach the emergency section until an hour later.”

He added that even then, they waited for the child to be transported, but he was never taken to that hospital in Riyadh because he was pronounced dead before then.

The uncle submitted a form requesting an investigation into the cause of the unexpected death of the child and the procedures followed when the medical staff handled his nephew’s case.

“I await the punishment of the person responsible for the child’s death,” al-Joufan said.


A Saudi boy has died in Shaqra General Hospital after the stick used for the nasal swab broke inside his nose, according to Sabaq news portal.

It was reported that the child was admitted to hospital as a result of high body temperature, and when he underwent an examination to confirm if he was COVID-19 positive or not, the stick broke inside his nose, which forced the doctors to use general anaesthesia to perform a swab extraction from his throat.

However, the boy was left without a follow-up, which resulted in him losing consciousness due to the obstruction of the respiratory tract. He died 24 hours after entering the hospital.

Abdullah Al Joufan, the father of the child, narrated the details of the tragic accident, confirming that he was refusing to go for a general anaesthesia for his child, but the doctor insisted on it, pointing out that after the operation he asked for an examination of the child by the specialist doctor, but the staff stated that the specialist was on leave.

He said the next day, everyone was surprised by the child suddenly losing consciousness due to obstruction of the respiratory tract, amid continuous attempts of revive him. When he found the child’s health condition deteriorate, he requested for a transfer to a specialised hospital in Riyadh. Despite approval, the ambulance was too late and arrived after the child was pronounced dead.


With a total COVID-19 cases of 332,790 and total recoveries of 316,405, the Kingdom total recovery rate reaches 95.07% as of September 26, 2020. Active cases and critical cases down to 11,730 and 1,035, respectively.

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