Soi Lek happy with 30-minute response time for hospital ambulances?
by Lim Kit Siang
Friday) : Although
not surprised, I am nonetheless outraged that the Selangor Health
Department is in cohoots with the Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang in
a “cover-up” of the shocking incident on Dec. 13 over the tardy dispatch
of an ambulance immediately after receiving a call about an accident near
the Batu Tiga toll, causing the avoidable death of the accident victim,
In a statement on Tuesday, the Selangor
Health Department’s health director, Dr. Ang Kim Teng said investigations
revealed that Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang had despatched an
ambulance immediately after receiving a call from businesswoman Zara Davies
Abdul Rahman about an accident near the Batu Tiga toll (Elite Highway) on
Dec 13. Ang said investigations revealed the following:
- The hospital's call centre received a
call for ambulance at 1.52pm on Dec13;
- Subsequently, a call was made to Zara by
the ambulance crew at 1.57pm to clarify the location of the accident. The
ambulance was despatched immediately after that;
- At 2.06pm, the centre received another
call from Zara enquiring whether an ambulance had been despatched. The
centre specifically informed her that it was already on its way and will
take some time to arrive due to heavy traffic and the distance from the
hospital. This conversation was recorded in the centre's record system.
- At 2.36pm, Zara again made a call to the
centre requesting for directions to the hospital. She was given the
assistance and arrived at the emergency department at 2.44 pm. The closed
circuit TV recording showed the staff on duty had promptly pushed a
trolley and followed behind Zara to fetch the victim from the car.
Ang said: "From the above, it is clear that
we have promptly responded to the call for ambulance, and it is not true
that Zara waited for more than an hour for the ambulance.
"It was also not true that she was told that
the ambulance had not been sent as our audio recordings indicated
otherwise," Ang said.
"We hope this clarification will lay to rest
the allegations by Zara on the failure of the ambulance to arrive as she had
already left the scene before the ambulance arrived.
"The Klang Hospital and other hospitals in
the state would continue to strive for speedy response to all ambulance
calls bearing in mind that distance and traffic conditions sometimes hamper
our efforts to reach the scene speedily."
The Health Minister, Datuk Chua Soi Lek has
also been reported in the Chinese press as saying that the ambulance arrived
within 30 minutes of the call, but Zara had already left the accident scene
with the victim, but “lost her way” in the journey to the Klang General
Zara has rebutted both Ang and Chua in her
email, which I reproduce below. I wish to state my shock and outrage,
however that Chua seemed to be happy with the 30-minute response time of the
Klang General Hospital ambulance according to his account, when the Health
Ministry’s director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican had said any ambulance
response time that was longer than 15 minutes was unacceptable.
This is Zara’s email in response:
Finally after almost 2 weeks since the
accident involving the late Mohd Yusry the Minister and the Director of
the Selangor Health Department have finally sent out their response. (Far
too little , too late).
Mine are not allegations. My point of
view is closely related to my experiences on the 13th of December 2006 @
1:30 pm and have been related fairly and accurately.
The fact that the Ministry does not
have a set standard procedure or code of practice for our emergency
response system has been confirmed by the Ministry comments printed in The
The fact that they have not looked at
the strategic placement of hospitals and deployment of ambulances too has
been confirmed in the same article by virtue of the accepted fact that the
said ambulance was delayed because of a traffic jam.
It has also been confirmed that the
Klang Hospital takes 5 whole minutes to call me to repeat the location of
the accident from the time they received the emergency call ( 1:52 pm -
Have both the Minister and the Selangor
Health Department Director realized the facts which they have confirmed
Why are they not appalled?
Maybe they have no use for an ambulance
from a government hospital (at least not yet. Everyone will at some point
in time need this service).
I suppose too, that by virtue of the
fact that I'm a woman I must have gotten lost. The fact that I rang up the
Hospital to request directions was because I knew that under such
desperate circumstances the most foolish thing would be to get lost. Hence
my call for directions was one done to confirm the exact whereabouts of
the hospital, therefore we did not get lost. (I have navigated my way from
Canada to Mexico and through 5 European countries. I can certainly find
the Klang Hospital!) It took me about 15 minutes to get to Klang Hospital.
The camera footage which is referred by
the Minister and Director to shows the Hospital Aide walking behind me
after I had procured a trolley and only probably covers the actual car
park area of the emergency entrance and not where the trolleys are kept.
No sane person would leave the scene of
an accident with the victim when the ambulance was on its way. Why did the
hospital fail to make it clear to me that an ambulance is coming ??
As far as I recall, I never once spoke
to an ambulance dispatch driver. My conversations where with some snooty
male hospital staff who manned the control room, whom I met after having
delivered the dead body of Mohd Yusry to the A & E.
This man, then promptly left his post
when I asked for his name and questioned him why an ambulance had not been
sent out. Even then, in the hospital he failed to confirm that an
ambulance had been dispatched.
Mere communication breakdown ?
If a mere communication breakdown is
all it takes to foil a rescue attempt by the hospital then the Minister
definitely needs to re-evaluate the whole emergency response system. And
create a standard procedure that has ambulances at the location of the
emergency, in less than 15 minutes.
This is an integral part of the Health
Care System not to be left to chance and the Minister should know it and
not simply brush it off.
Does he want to be part of the problems
with our society or does he want to be part of the solution ?
Please ask him this YB, Please.
May this young man be the last person
to wait for an ambulance that takes some 30 min to reach him (if it was
ever sent out at all, only God really knows).
Kindest regards, Zara Davies Abdul
Chua should give a proper response to Zara’s
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman