happen in Malaysia or other countries.
Doctors even falsify cause of death as that of other diseases other
than the main contributor, i.e. flu-like symptoms.
H1N1-death man may have spread infection
By Shahid Ali Khan
RIYADH – The death of Sri Lankan national Mohammed Mafaz Mohammed
Saleem in a hotel room here Monday, confirmed as resulting from swine
flu by the Ministry of Health, has raised concerns over whether he
could have spread the infection during his week-long attempts to find
treatment in at least four medical centers.
Saleem, a resident of Dubai, arrived in Riyadh on July 25 on a
business trip and, according to at least six of his friends who had
variously accompanied him to medical centers, was displaying flu-like
One of the six, all Sri Lankans speaking on condition of anonymity,
said he hosted Saleem for one day at home with his wife and children,
and said he had assisted in Saleem's efforts to seek urgent medical
According to the friend, Saleem was taken first to Olaya Polyclinic in
the upmarket district of Olaya where he was diagnosed with common flu
and given antibiotics. When the symptoms failed to subside, Saleem was
taken to Al-Shammary Polyclinic where he was advised to continue
taking the same medication.
Still showing no signs of improvement, he then checked in at Shumaisy
General Hospital at around 11 A.M. Friday where doctors repeated
advice to continue on the same medication before discharging him.
Friends of Saleem then took him to the Specialized Medical Clinic
Hospital on King Fahd Street where staff took a swab of his mucous and
charged him SR250 for the test and analysis. The hospital, however,
did not present the test report and instead told Saleem to return to
Shumaisy Hospital. The doctor there reportedly advised him to "stay
away from people".
"The tragedy is that none of the medical centers was ready to admit
him as an in-patient and treat him for the illness," said one of the
six friends. "All this happened despite clear instructions from Health
Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeah that hospitals should take in and treat
any persons with flu-like symptoms."
On Sunday, one day before his death, Saleem returned to the Golden
Tulip Hotel in the Nassariyah district.
The next day his friend knocked on the door of Room No. 332 after
receiving no reply to telephone calls, and when there was no response
hotel staff were informed.
When the door was opened Saleem was found dead on his bed.
Concerns have since centered on how many people may have been infected
by swine flu after coming into contact with Saleem, although a test
his friend was asked to take after the discovery of Saleem's body
proved negative. Staff at the hotel where he was found, however, are
among those concerned and question the lack of action taken by
"Room 332 and the other rooms on the floor have not been disinfected,
because the Health Ministry has not informed us to do so," the hotel
source said, although the top floor of the hotel where Saleem's room
was located has been quarantined.
Further questions still remain over whether Saleem did actually die of
the swine flu virus or from other causes.
Sabarullah Khan, Charge d'Affaires at the Sri Lankan Embassy, said
that the Ministry of Health statement confirming the cause of Saleem's
death as swine flu was contradicted by a hospital report.
"According to Shumaisy Hospital medical report, Saleem died of cardio-
respiratory failure and other illness," Khan said. "The Embassy is
still awaiting a final medical report from the Health Ministry".
Staff at the Golden Tulip Hotel where Saleem was found dead in his
room, also question the diagnosis.
"We have not received any report from the Health Ministry suggesting
Saleem died from swine flu," said one member of staff who asked not to
31-year-old Saleem, who was laid to rest in Riyadh's Umm Al-Hammam
Cemetery on Wednesday, is survived by his wife who consented to the
burial through an affidavit, and his parents. - SG