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‘We Couldn’t Find One Hospital Bed For Her’: Egyptian Adventurer Omar Samra’s Sister Dies of COVID-19

‘We Couldn’t Find One Hospital Bed For Her’: Egyptian Adventurer Omar Samra’s Sister Dies of COVID-19

Omar Samra when he became the first Egyptian to ski the south pole.

Egyptian adventure icon and mountaineer Omar Samra announced on Tuesday that his older sister Rania had passed away and that the cause of her death was suspected to be COVID-19.

In two emotional social media posts, Samra revealed the struggles his family faced to secure appropriate medical assistance for Rania.

“In the last two days before her passing, we could not find one hospital bed for her. We were told that those with special needs, especially those with severe mental [disability] need to be treated at home. That her trained care takers would not be allowed in with her,” wrote Samra on Facebook.

“I don’t know if a hospital would have saved her life, but I know that she should have gotten better care and medicine should have been more readily available. Shame on every person who is taking advantage of the misery of others by selling medicine and hospital beds at multiples of their original price. They should be punished to the full extent of the law.”

Samra called on the Egyptian government to immediately develop protocols for special needs cases.

 

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(Part 1/2) It’s with a very heavy heart that I share the passing of my sister Rania yesterday June 1st. What makes this especially hard is that I hadn’t see her for 3 months due to quarantine, and I was not able to be with her in her final moments. Her passing was suspected to be COVID-19. I know my story is not new, it’s the reality of tens of thousands around the world, but I want to take this opportunity to highlight a couple of important points before sharing with you more about her and what she meant to me. In the last 2 days before her passing, we could not find one hospital bed for her. We were told that those with special needs, especially those with severe mental handicap need to be treated at home. That her trained care takers would not be allowed in with her. I don’t know if a hospital would have saved her life but I know that she should have gotten better care and medicine should have been more readily available. Shame on every person who is taking advantage of the misery of others by selling medicine and hospital beds at multiples of their original price. They should be punished to the full extent of the law. Moreover, the government must immediately develop unique protocols for special needs cases. Hospitals must be designated for special needs and trained care takers must be staffed there and allowed to support them. Their lives matter just as much as anyone. Secondly, every person who has taken this virus lightly and especially those who have spent the last few days partying or blatantly ignoring all government directives, you should be ashamed of yourselves. We’re all in this together. You’re not free to choose what to do when other people’s lives are at risk. Freedom is a right that is earned when you can exercise good judgement and act responsibly. With cases in Egypt rising at exponential levels, we simply cannot be opening up the country. Far more restraint is needed. #RIP

A post shared by Omar Samra – عمر سمره (@omarsamra) on

“Hospitals must be designated for special needs and trained care takers must be staffed there and allowed to support them. Their lives matter just as much as anyone,” said Samra, before slamming those who have ignored government directives to stay at home.

“Every person who has taken this virus lightly and especially those who have spent the last few days partying or blatantly ignoring all government directives, you should be ashamed of yourselves,” said Samra. In recent days, social media posts have revealed a number of parties and large gatherings in Egypt. This includes a wedding attended by Egyptian actor and singer Mohamed Ramadan, which stirred outrage.

“You’re not free to choose what to do when other people’s lives are at risk. Freedom is a right that is earned when you can exercise good judgement and act responsibly. With cases in Egypt rising at exponential levels, we simply cannot be opening up the country. Far more restraint is needed,” continued Samra, who added that his younger sister Yasmine is also suffering from COVID-19.

The comments made by Samra reflect concerns by many in the community that there are not enough hospital beds for those infected by COVID-19 in Egypt. In early May, an Egyptian Ministry of Health official said that Egypt’s isolation hospitals had reached “maximum capacity.” This statement was later refuted by government officials as ‘fake news’, with the Ministry of Health later stating that there are no resourcing or staff issues.

 

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(Part 2/2) Rania was the eldest of us 4 siblings. I’m the person I am today because of what her life taught me. Growing up, I saw how people looked at her differently. At best they felt sorry for her and me, usually they got scared or distanced themselves. Because of that, Rania, you taught me never to have prejudice and to always look deeper into people’s hearts and souls, never to judge a book by its cover. In my young teens, for the most part I wasn’t allowed to be out with my friends but home caring for my sisters. I was too young to understand and I often complained, but as I got older I realised how much of a blessing it was to be there for you. You taught me responsibility and how to make sacrifices for others. As I write this, my younger sister Yasmine is still sick with COVID-19. Her condition is stable but if I know anything about this virus, it’s that it’s a roller coaster. Please join me in praying for her safety and recovery. Much love to all, please be careful, and stay safe. #RIP #Tribute

A post shared by Omar Samra – عمر سمره (@omarsamra) on

However, in recent days, videos have been shared on social media of hospitals overflowing with patients and no longer accepting new patients. The videos reflect concerns expressed by the Egyptian Medical Syndicate surrounding the shortage of medical supplies, tests and other support.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Egypt continues to rise exponentially, with 8,780 new officially recorded COVID-19 cases in the last seven days alone. The total number of recorded COVID-19 cases as of 02 June 2020 is 27,536. The total number of deaths passed 1,000 earlier this week, reaching 1,052 on Tuesday night.

Earlier this month, Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education said that based on estimates, the real numbers of infections in Egypt could be more than 100,000. The numbers recorded by the Ministry of Health are, to date, mostly those who have been admitted to hospitals across the country.

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