Malaysiakini Letter

Malaysia's sick hospitals

Government Doctor  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Editor's Note: The Sabah Health Department has replied to this letter here.

LETTER | I write in after a series of troubling events at Malaysian hospitals. This open letter is to urge the powers-that-be be proactive and prompt in taking action to rectify all these issues.

Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor Bahru (HSAJB) had a few deaths from a fire in October 2016. The latest fire would be Hospital Kuala Lumpur on March 17 (above).

A quick ask around reveals that the intensive care unit in HSAJB had only one door in and out to that area, and did not even have a proper fire escape.

However, the issue was quickly covered up. Lives were lost to the fire that day but has anyone publicly responded, apologised or compensated the relatives involved?

Hospital Sandakan in Sabah has faced a year- (or more) long problem with it's operating theatre with multiple repairs being done.

Hospital Lahad Datu has a maternal operating theatre that has not been used since being built about 15 years ago as a result of poor administration and governance.

Spoilt elevators have forced a husband to carry his pregnant wife up two flights of stairs for a Caesarean operation.

Meanwhile, in the main tertiary hospital of Sabah, the usual "no budget" and financial issues are the main hurdle to the healthcare services in Hospital Queen Elizabeth 1 and 2 and Hospital Likas.

Certain antibiotics and anaesthetic drugs have run out, forcing doctors to choose other alternative drugs.

Infrastructure breakdown is also not foreign to this facility and last year saw two operating theatre lights fall from the ceiling in Hospital Queen Elizabeth I and Hospital Likas respectively.

The lights injured healthcare staff but fortunately did not hit the patient.

This letter is a wake-up call to those in power. Drastic action is needed with regards to hospital maintenance and administration. Forget the newfangled programmes, strategies and what-not if even simple things like fixing a lamp can't be done.

Four months down the road and there is no sign of a new operating theatre lamp in Hospital Likas. Excuses and lip service like "we are working on it" or "we are waiting for approval/budget" should be thrown out the window.

If that falling light had injured the relative of a politician or VIP, you can be sure that it would have been changed immediately.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. I challenge the ministry to conduct a transparent investigation of all the healthcare facilities in the country, publicly reveal the shortcomings, apologise for failing Malaysians and resolve to do something about this. It has gone too far and must be stopped.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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