Chua Soi Lek should present a
Ministerial statement in Parliament tomorrow on the outrageous case of
5-week-old baby Lai Yok Shan who lost her left forearm from below the elbow
because of medical and hospital negligence
by Lim Kit Siang
Newspaper headlines today like
“Baby’s blackened arm removed – Procedure on Yok Shan over in 10 minutes”
(The Star), “Tangan bayi tersalah suntuk tertanggal sendiri” (Mingguan
Malaysia), “ORDEAL – BABY YOK SHAN LOSES HER LEFT FOREARM” (New Sunday
Times) and “Tangan bayi salah suntuk dipotong”(Berita Minggu) highlight
another tragic case to remind Malaysians that despite all the glitter and
extravangza of the 50th Merdeka Anniversary celebrations, public service
standards and accountability have fallen to a new low in 50 years.
Health Minister, Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek should present a Ministerial
statement in Parliament tomorrow on the outrageous case of five-week-old
baby Lai Yok Shan who lost her left forearm from below the elbow because
of medical negligence at the Tengku Ampuan Rahiman Hospital in Klang.
Lai’s parents, her father Lai Kian Khee, 24 and mother Nur Tuemthong, were
told on National Day eve that Yok Shan will undergo an operation expected
to last from two to four hours on Sept 1 - a day after 50th Merdeka
National Day - to amputate her left arm, but in actual fact, no amputation
was needed as the blackened arm came off when the orthopaedic surgeon
lifted and turned it.
This showed how little the panel of medical specialists knew about Yok
Shan’s condition despite all the hullabaloo about its establishment to
treat the baby girl!
Chua should honour his public promise that “there will be no cover up and
all will be transparent” into the negligence resulting in the Yok Shan
losing her left forearm.
This is why he should present a Ministerial statement in Parliament to
outline not only the shocking medical and hospital negligence resulting in
the Yok Shan tragedy, but what action he has taken as Health Minister to
accept full responsibility for the Yok Shan outrage and ensure that there
will not be another horrible case of medical and hospital negligence akin
to the Yok Shan case in future.
Yok Shan was born two months premature on July 23 and kept in an incubator
and on a ventilator. When her condition deteriorated, it was decided to
give her strong antibiotics which could only be administered
A trainee doctor who received instructions over the telephone from the
specialist doctor on duty administered the injection. The trainee doctor
inserted the needle into muscles and tissues instead of blood vessel in
the arm. This caused the baby’s arm to be infected.
It is clear that there is a chain of irresponsibility and negligence
resulting in Yok Shan having to lost her arm, involving the trainee
doctor, the specialist doctor, the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital, the
Ministry of Health and even the panel of medical specialists announced by
Chua on August 9 to save Yok Shan’s left arm.
Apart from questions of culpability of the trainee doctor and the
specialist doctor who had given instructions over the phone instead of
attending to the case personally, why was there a six-day delay by the
authorities in taking urgent remedial action – with Chua only responding
and announcing a panel of specialists to take care of Yok Shan after the
DAP Pasar Besar Branch chairman Peter Tan had highlighted the incident in
Furthermore, why was the panel of specialists completely unaware of the
condition of Yok Shan, expecting a two-to-four hour amputation operation
when it just fell off when lifted and turned?
I will raise this medical and hospital negligence issue in Parliament if
Chua is not prepared to present a ministerial statement on Yok Shan’s
suffering and tragedy tomorrow.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman