Chua Soi Lek pull up Klang General Hospital for its scandalous ambulance
emergency response time causing avoidable death of Mohd Yusry last week when
his response time to the incident is equally outrageous?
by Lim Kit Siang
Thursday) : Health
Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek should explain how he could pull up
the Klang General Hospital (Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah HTAR) for its
scandalous emergency response time causing avoidable death of Mohd Yusry
last week when his response time to the incident is equally outrageous.
It is more
than a week since Mohd Yusry’s unnecessary death and Zara Davies Abdul
Rahman’s account of her traumatic experience to get accident and emergency
help to save the accident victim’s life, with no ambulance from HTAR turning
up at the accident site near the Batu Tiga toll booth despite an hour’s
both Chua and the Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr. Ismail Merican had not
publicly responded to the Mohd Yusry case, a serious case of hospital
negligence, for more than a week – a response time (or lack of response)
from the top leadership in the Health Ministry which is as reprehensible for
the same indifference over the HTAR ambulance service.
ago, Dr. Ismail Merican had said that “anything more than 15 minutes is
unacceptable” with regard to the emergency response times of Malaysian
It is time
to hold the Health Minister and Health Director-General responsible for
negligences like the case of the avoidable death of Mohd Yusry, not over the
direct causation for the loss of a life, but failure to take follow-up
action to ensure that such negligence will not be repeated.
I have received
emails expressing doubt and skepticism that any positive changes in the
health services can stem from the public furore over Mohd Yusry’s
avoidable death, as the rot in the system seemed to have gone too deep.
One way to ensure
that there would be changes in the system is to hold the Health Minister and
the Health Director-General personally responsible for their failure to
publicly respond to such scandals and outrages.
One email from a
retired professional in the national health service who stays in Petaling
very much if anything can be changed, or will change in the system as a
result, because I think that it is too far gone!!...Sorry if I sound so
negative, but its the whole wide, wide system in place...from the school
system, the recruitment practices, the people who are promoted inspite of
being known to be inefficient etc.
”Basically all emergency systems should function 24/7...but what does one
see in practice?...let me give you a few examples:
1. We were robbed by 4 parang wielding chaps at 6.00am, and we kept calling
and calling 999, as soon as they left in a car but no one answered. We had
to call PJ Police headquarters, to get them send some help, but when they
finally came they just told me to go to the 'balai to make a report'...they
were not at all interested in going after the robbers car!...When we got to
the Police station and I complained about our futile attempts at calling 999
and getting no response...the policemans answer was "Lain kali jangan pangil
999, memang tiada orang jawab!!...terus pangil nombor Balai"...my question
is are we all expected to know the telephone number of the nearest 'Balai
Polis' all the time?
2. A former Senior specialist in GH KL after retirement he was re-employed
in Trengganu, but had chest pains in the early hours of the morning, when
he was home in KL for the weekend. He had asked his wife to call for an
ambulance,but though she kept trying for quite a while, no ambulance ever
came until he passed away at home.
3. Recently my friend who had previously been operated for cancer of the
pancreas had severe abdominal pain at night at home in PJ, when the wife
kept calling for an ambulance she was told to take a taxi to the University
Hospital!...he was later diagnosed as having a perforated stomach and
operated in Selayang hospital...it was just as well that the wife took him
to the place where he had had the operation earlier and where all his
records were kept!
4. Not too long ago when I was away in Johore I came back to find a few
double storey terrace houses in Damansara Kim SS 20 burnt!!....this is a row
of houses facing the Taman Tun Dr. Ismail Fire Station!!... so are we safe
from a fire even if we are living next door to a fire station?
” I have given you an example of Police response to an emergency, two
hospitals' responses to an urgent call for ambulance, and houses facing a
fire station getting burnt down!
These examples are not rare in this country, gradually such instances are
becoming the 'norm'...it is going to take a herculian effort of the whole
system, to really identify the root causes, and have the POLITICAL WILL to
DO WHAT IS RIGHT and TO PUT IT RIGHT...realise that it is more important to:
DOING THE RIGHT THING
before , DOING THE THING RIGHT!
I know it sounds a little confusing, and even teachers of English get
confused, if you ask them which is more important...'which one first?'
Let me give you a simple example:
When an accident victim is brought to the hospital...doing the Right thing
would be to seek to do everything to keep the patient alive....doing the
Thing, right would be to ask for the persons I/C to register him/her,ask for
guarantee letter, look for the next of kin etc;...if we focus on the second
thing...doing the thing Right...most emergencies entering the hospital will
leave the hospital through the
Having spent 32 years of my life with the Ministry of Health,(my late
father spent 38 years of his life with KKM) I find that many senior officers
can't see the difference and in many situations, they often focus on the
second as if it was more important! ...in our culture beautfying hospitals
is deemed more important than ensuring that the system works 24/7 even
without the VIP's around!”
Malaysians have a
right to expect and demand prompt and meaningful response time from the
Health Minister and Health Director-General to these scandals happening
under their bailiwick.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman