Fact Check: Palestinian Health Ministry Did NOT Announce That All ICU Patients Had Died At Al Shifa Hospital In Gaza By November 12, 2023

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Palestinian Health Ministry Did NOT Announce That All ICU Patients Had Died At Al Shifa Hospital In Gaza By November 12, 2023 Not All Died

Did the Ministry of Health in Gaza announce that all the ICU patients at the Al Shifa hospital had died in mid-November 2023 because of Israeli bombardments and cutting off electricity as well as blocking supplies? No, that's not true: Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila misstated at a November 11, 2023, news briefing that all 39 babies at the hospital were killed due to lack of oxygen and electricity -- but she did not suggest that all intensive care unit patients of all ages had died. Later that same day the statement about infants was corrected by the media manager at the Health Ministry to say that one baby had died and 38 others were at risk of death.

A meme posted on Instagram (archived here) on November 12, 2023, by @imamomarsuleiman was captioned:

#BREAKING| The Ministry of Health has officially announced the death of all ICU patients in the Alshifa hospital due to the outages of electric power and oxygen. #Gaza

Slow motion genocide. Slaughter and starvation.


This is how the post appeared at the time of writing:

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Nov 16 16:38:42 2023 UTC)

The text on the meme, which includes the watermark of Quds News Network in the lower right corner, reads:

All ICU patients at Al Shifa Hospital died

The caption on the meme is incorrect. Lead Stories could not identify any statements from the Palestinian Health Ministry that claimed that all ICU patients at Al Shifa Hospital had died. The scope of this fact check is not to confirm exact numbers of people who had died on that day or since, nor to disregard the challenges currently faced by those at the hospital, but to focus on the claim of an announcement that all ICU patients at the hospital had died.

The original post of this meme is not visible on the Quds News Network Instagram timeline, and it may have been deleted. Another post on this topic visible on the Instagram account was posted on November 11, 2023 (pictured below). The photo of the Palestinian health minister dates back to at least 2020 and is not a photo of the news conference that day. The November 11, 2023, post is captioned:

Palestinian Minister of Health Mai Alkaila: '39 premature babies in Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza are threatened with death at any moment, and one of them died this morning.'


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Nov 16 16:38:42 2023 UTC)

A November 11, 2023, video posted on YouTube by Al Jazeera English (pictured below) is titled, "Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila holds a news briefing." There is a spoken English translation of her statements included in the Al Jazeera video as well as a transcript in English provided with the video. At 1:48 minutes in, the translator of al-Kaila's speech says:

As we speak the Israeli occupation forces continue to besiege and shell the hospital. The baby born incubator is now without power. The oxygen supplies are also out. Now there is nothing but inevitable death, this is what is waiting for the patients and victims, and as we speak I receive the latest number 39 baby born were killed. This is the number I just received. 39 baby born were killed and the blood of those children are on the hands of Israel and the international community. 39 baby born were killed because of lack of oxygen. The electric power is off. Those childrens, those babies, their blood is on the hands of the international community in the first place and all the people of conscience.


(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu Nov 16 18:22:08 2023 UTC)

An article by Anadolu Agency, the state-run Turkish news agency, relayed a correction that had been issued by the Palestinian Health Ministry. The article was published on November 11, 2023, and updated the following day. It is titled, "39 babies at risk of death at Al-Shifa Hospital due to lack of oxygen: Palestinian Health Ministry":

Mohammad Alawawda, media manager at the Health Ministry, told Anadolu that 39 children in Al-Shifa Hospital's care ward are at risk of death, and one baby has died as a result of the lack of oxygen.

A November 14, 2023, article by CNN titled, "Doctors race to save newborns as Israel says it's battling Hamas around Gaza's largest hospital" includes numbers of deaths at the hospital, but not specific dates:

In recent days, 15 patients have died at Al-Shifa, among them six newborns, due to power outages and a shortage of medical supplies, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, which draws its figures from the Hamas-controlled territory.

On November 15, 2023, ABC News reported that 43 out of 63 intensive care patients at Al Shifa Hospital had died.

Other Lead Stories fact checks on claims concerning the 2023 Hamas-Israel conflict are here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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