Hadassah hospital consulting with US medics on COVID treatment for Erekat

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Earlier, Erekat said he was experiencing “difficult symptoms resulting from my lack of immunity as a result of lung transplantation.”

Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat meets with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi (not pictured) in Amman, Jordan, September 6, 2020. (photo credit: MUHAMMED HAMED / REUTERS)

Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat meets with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi (not pictured) in Amman, Jordan, September 6, 2020.

(photo credit: MUHAMMED HAMED / REUTERS)

Veteran PLO official Saeb Erekat, who contracted the coronavirus earlier this month, was intubated on Monday after his condition worsened, and he is now considered in critical condition in Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.

On Monday the hospital issued a statement reporting that Erekat was “ventilated on high concentration of oxygen and on nitric oxide gas and is in the prone position. He has received concentrated convalescent plasma with high levels of anti-Covid antibodies.”

“We have consulted with specialists from Tel Aviv, New York and Washington,” the spokesman said, adding: “Prognosis remains very guarded.”

Erekat was transferred to Hadassah on Sunday in serious condition.

Erekat, 65, underwent a lung transplant in the US in 2017 after suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, a condition that scars the lungs and damages their ability to circulate oxygen.

“Mr. Erekat had a quiet night but his condition deteriorated this morning, and is now critical,” a statement from Hadassah said Monday morning. “Due to respiratory distress, he is in a coma and ventilated. Mr. Erekat’s treatment presents a significant challenge as, as the recipient of a lung transplant, he is immunosuppressed and suffers a bacterial infection in addition to the corona.”

According to the hospital, Erekat is in the intensive care unit for corona patients and required high-flow oxygen therapy (HFOT) and oxygen (Airbo). He was not ventilated and was deemed stable when he entered the hospital on Sunday, although his condition deteriorated on Monday.

“Mr. Erekat is receiving top-notch professional care like all serious corona patients at Hadassah and the staff will do everything to assist his recovery. At Hadassah, we treat every patient as if he were our only patient,” said the hospital’s director, Prof. Zeev Rothstein.

Several members of the Palestinian ruling Fatah faction in east Jerusalem arrived at the hospital to inquire about Erekat’s condition.

Erekat is the most senior Palestinian official to be admitted to an Israeli hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus.

“Due to the chronic health problems he faces in the respiratory system, Dr. Erekat’s condition now requires medical attention in a hospital,” the PLO said in a statement.

Erekat, who previously served as chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel, is currently secretary-general of the PLO. He is also a member of the Fatah Central Committee.

The decision to transfer Erekat to an Israeli hospital came after his condition deteriorated over the past 24 hours, Palestinian sources told The Jerusalem Post.

The Palestinian Authority made an urgent request to Israel to allow Erekat, who lives in Jericho, to be transferred to an Israeli hospital immediately, the sources said.

Erekat was in stable condition and fully conscious while being taken to the hospital in an Israeli ambulance, they said.

On October 9, Jordan’s King Abdullah instructed his government to provide Erekat with any medical care he requires.

Another senior PLO official, Hanan Ashrawi, was diagnosed with the coronavirus earlier this month.

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