Abu Dhabi: Even though she was the smallest of the triplets, five-month-old Hala, who inhaled just as much toxin as her two brothers, still managed to survive.
Hala, who weighed just one kilo at birth, was the sole survivor among her brothers, Ali (1.2 kilograms) and Suhail (1.4 kilograms), who died last weekend after inhaling pesticide fumes sprayed in an apartment 200 metres from theirs.
The triplets, who were two months premature, were delivered on October 19, and were in intensive care at Al Rahba Hospital in Abu Dhabi for 51 days.
Hala, the triplets' father Al Hassan Ali Baker, 35, a Palestinian financial analyst, his visiting mother, and the triplets' mother, Jameela Ehsan, 21, all fell severely sick in the apartment where Ali and Suhail died.
Al Hassan told Gulf News police have been investigating the incident in their Ajman apartment for the past two days, during which time the family decided to visit Abu Dhabi.
"We are moving out of that apartment once we're back. At the moment my wife and I are staying with our family who are helping us go through this bad time. The incident was a disaster and a huge shock for both of us. Especially as we never expected the cause of death to be due to pesticides sprayed in an apartment in front of ours. We didn't even smell it from how dizzy it made us."
The incident started on Friday morning, when Al Hassan woke up feeling ill and dizzy.
"We were supposed to visit friends in Al Ain that morning. I woke up feeling loss of breath, my hands were cold yet sweaty, and my chest was hurting. My mother and I immediately went to hospital to check if I was having a heart attack, during which time my wife was with the kids. We never once left them home alone."
After medical investigations and blood tests, Al Hassan arrived back at 6pm. His mother then started to complain she was not feeling well either.
"During the night my wife got ill too. We were all unwell, and that's when we decided to visit a hospital again. While leaving, we heard my mother scream, and rushed into the children's room to find Ali's body pale and extremely cold, he had stopped breathing. Suhail was also screaming and crying, and was very pale.
"I knew right there that Ali had died, but didn't want to believe it and decided to rush them both to hospital," he said.
On arrival Ali was pronounced dead and Suhail died a few minutes later.
"At first I blamed their deaths on their poor immune system due to their premature births. Not once did it occur to me that they choked from pesticides. We were shocked when the medical diagnoses came out, and the cause of death was phosphine gas in their blood," he said.
In the meantime, Hala and Jameela's condition worsened, and they were admitted to intensive care for three days.
"In the beginning Hala was fine, but immediately after the death of her brothers she started to scream and cry just like Suhail did before he died. We rushed her to a doctor immediately, and found her blood sugar level was very high," said her father.
Hala and Jameela are improving slowly.
"We've been discharged from the hospital, and Hala is a fighter, she managed to survive with God's will," Jameela said.
She described Ali and Suhail as very happy children. They were buried in Ajman on Wednesday.
Al Hassan intends to file a lawsuit against both his Nigerian neighbour and the pesticide company.