On Dec 13, at about 1.30pm, there was a road traffic accident involving a driver driving a dark blue Proton Saga and the victim, a highway road sweeper, male, approximately in the mid-20s. The location of the accident was about 150 200 meters from the Batu Tiga toll booth (Elite highway) in the direction towards KLIA.
I chanced upon this accident (which had just happened) while on my way back to work from Ampang via the Kesas highway. As I approached the accident site, it seemed the victim was already dead, the driver who had knocked him down was standing nearby and nobody dared approach to lend assistance to the victim - almost as if this was one time were an invasion of privacy was taboo.
I stopped my vehicle and approached and upon examining the accident victim, I found him to be still alive but heavily concussed, his pupils were completely dilated. Suddenly the victim grabbed my hand and tried with all his might to raise himself to his feet. I tried to calm him and asked the bystanders if an ambulance had been called. I was told it had not.
In a firm tone, I told the driver of the car that hit the victim to call for an ambulance. He dialed 999, it rang until it didn't ring anymore. He rang again, again it was not answered. He rang again and passed the phone to me. Finally someone answered (a man).
I informed him that I was reporting an accident a few hundred meters away from the Batu Tiga toll in the direction of KLIA. He asked me my phone number and my name and which hospital was the nearest. I gave the info and added that the nearest hospital to deal with this kind of trauma was probably Klang.
At 1.57pm I received a call from the phone number 03 3371 7989 - the ambulance control centre at the Klang Hospital. The guy in charge of the control centre asked to speak to me and
asked for the location of the accident which I gave, adding that the victim was dying and that this was an extreme emergency.
The guy manning the control centre did not know my location, so I repeated it clearly and concisely. It seemed that he needed to understand it for himself otherwise he could not pass on the information and dispatch the ambulance. It was a frustrating conversation. I repeated the details of my location and he asked me if I was sure that Klang was the nearest hospital. I repeated firmly, yes.
I told him the injuries of the victim, hoping he would feel the urgency. Instead he wanted to know whether 'dia jatuh motor ke...?' I told him politely that his question was completely irrelevant and to hurry up with the ambulance. I had to hang up and attend to the victim. I called back at 2.06pm to ask if an ambulance had been dispatched. The same guy told me 'belum'. He asked me the same questions. I answered them.
I warned him that the next time I make a call would be to the menteri besar's office to complain about his shoddy professionalism, so he'd better send out that ambulance immediately. I then called someone I knew at 2.08pm who helped call the Klang Hospital on my behalf to request they send out an ambulance immediately.
I waited and called the emergency control centre at Klang Hospital at 2.36pm and asked the same guy if an ambulance had been dispatched. Same answer, 'belum'. He requested me to repeat the accident location again, which I did. This time I told him that he need not understand it but to just writes it down and give it to the ambulance driver along with my handphone number.
I waited again. The victim was rolling in pain on the road, his head had a gash about 10cm long on the back, and the skin on his head was beginning to peel off. His left leg was completely broken and was hanging by the flesh but the main artery was not severed. He was not losing much blood. His workmate was cradling him in his arms and asking him to 'mengucap kalimah syahadah' (dying prayers).
I tried to stop further damage to his left leg by securing it to his right leg. I told the few people around that he is going to die if we don't get him to hospital. Everyone was reluctant to put him in their cars, all kinds of excuses, 'ada barang, kotor lah, berdarah la'. Meanwhile the victim was grabbing on to my clothes and body in pain, unable to talk possibly due to his head injury.
Finally the driver who knocked him down allowed us to use his car to send the victim to the hospital. But he was too shaken-up to drive. Another gentleman offered to drive but did not know how to exit the Elite highway to get towards the Klang Hospital. I asked him to follow me and so we drove off as fast as we could head towards the Federal Highway to Klang. We had to go through so many toll gates, some after paying though some after explaining briefly, let us through.
On the Federal Highway despite our attempts to notify motorists that we were in a state of emergency, many blocked our path and only relented to give way when I practically sat on my car horn.
We arrived in Klang and I called the emergency control centre guy for directions to the hospital. I was by this time quite distressed and pronounced the name of the hospital wrongly. The guy in the control center told me there was no such hospital in Klang, so I said to him. 'Have you sent out an ambulance to the Batu Tiga toll accident site? No, right? So since you cannot understand where the accident is, we are sending the victim to you. This is an emergency can you give me directions to your hospital or not?'
Finally he did.
When we arrived at the Klang Hospital, I had a hard time looking for the staff to bring a trolley to remove the victim from the car. I asked for assistance from two nurses but did not receive a response. I took a trolley and pushed it to the car, suddenly a hospital aide appeared, then another, as we tried to remove the victim's body from the car.
It was then that the co-worker who had been cradling the victim in the car said that he had stopped breathing.
The hospital aides rushed the victim into the Accident & Emergency room and I followed. As he was wheeled in there was no immediate response from the doctors. It was obvious this young man with his whole life ahead of him had died in the car on the way to the hospital.
I was so angry, my words were simple, 'Kecuaian pihak hospital menghantar ambulans membantu mangsa ini telah mengecewakan rakyat'. (The negligence of the hospital in not sending an ambulance to help the victim has let the public down).
The aide asked me to be calm. How could any human being be calm when faced with such stupidity and total lack of regard for human life? The aide showed me an identity card and asked me to confirm if this was the victim. I confirmed. I briefly saw the name Mohd Yusry and his age was somewhere in his mid-20s.
As I walked away from the A&E room in disgust I saw the control centre. A guy was sitting in it with a female nurse looking at a computer (very close and comfy).
I approached him and asked if he was the person who took my calls, he knew my name and I asked him for his, he declined. I asked him why he did not dispatch an ambulance to which he replied something brash.
I asked him if he was happy as the victim was unnecessarily dead and that I am going to ensure that his lackadaisical attitude to his job was brought to the public attention. I asked him for his name again along with the nurse who was sitting next to him 'playing' with the computer. He refused to give it to me.
Feeling very frustrated I called my friend, who earlier helped route my call and informed him that regretfully the road accident victim - a young Malay man - had died in the car on the way to the hospital and that no ambulance had been dispatched.
This is not the first time I have called for an ambulance and used the 999 services. Every time I have called for an ambulance it has never arrived, never. Why? This is the first road accident victim whom I have helped who has actually died. Everyone else I have helped before this has survived.
The issues that need to be addressed are:
- The strategic location of a free government hospital able to deal with serious road accident trauma in Shah Alam (densely populated area with much traffic activity).
Emergency response centres created where the Balai Bomba have special ambulances and police squad cars for dispatching only to accident/incident locations and to the nearest hospital/police stations (ambulances need not be parked permanently at hospitals).
These are my simple suggestions. Life is precious and should be preserved above all else. Without regard for one another what kind of country are we leaving for our children to inherit?
The above letter was highlighted at a DAP press conference yesterday.