KUWAIT: While local authorities denied what a senior official described as ‘baseless rumors’ regarding heavy traffic causing the death of an infant last Sunday, the baby’s family spoke with a local daily Monday and confirmed that the baby has indeed died on the way to the hospital. Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali, the Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs at the Interior Ministry, was quoted Monday as he indicated that emergency operators did not receive a report about a baby dying on the same day the incident reportedly happened.

His statements were made in response to comments on social networks which blamed the General Traffic Department for failing to regulate traffic and allow an ambulance to reach the baby on time. But on Monday, a man who identified himself as the baby’s uncle explained that an ambulance was indeed not called to the house because the baby’s father had rushed him to the hospital instead.

“The incident started in the morning when the baby’s mother went to check on him after sending her other children to school, but found him showing signs of suffocation”, Bashar Al-Dawood told Al-Rai. He added that his brother rushed back home after being learning about his son’s condition, then decided to take the 35-day-old to the hospital himself. “He thought that a few minutes trip from his Rumaithiya house to the Mubarak Hospital is better than waiting for an ambulance to arrive, but did not know that a traffic jam was waiting for him”, he added.

According to Al-Dawood, the baby’s father drove along the Fahaheel Expressway and it took him 50 minutes to reach the hospital. The baby was pronounced dead soon afterwards. “My brother was so caught up in the moment that making an emergency call did not come to his attention while he was praying for an opening amid the heavy traffic jam”, he said, before urging traffic officials to work on ending the traffic crisis “before it claims more innocent lives”.