Hospital fire - a house officer's story of service

Abdullah Muhaimin

Modified 26 Oct 2016, 8:44 am

As the Fire and Rescue Department sifts through the ashes at Sultanah Aminah Hospital, Johor Baru, a house officer on duty at the paediatrics block when the fire broke out yesterday, shares the story of how the hospital and Malaysians banded together in the face of tragedy.

The posting, first made on Facebook yesterday, was shared by Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The fire killed six patients from the intensive care unit. One patient is being treated in ICU at Sultan Ismail Hospital while 10 staff members are receiving treatment at Hospital Sultanah Aminah.

Malaysiakini republishes the posting in full, with edits for language and clarity.

I thank all the people who called or dropped a message to check on me. The thoughts that you gave me are really appreciated.

I would like to thank all who have helped us throughout the day. Special thanks to:

1) Allah for keeping all my babies safe. I cannot say what would have happened if the flames had spread to the paediatrics block.

2) My colleagues and medical officers.

To all my colleagues, especially the female colleagues in my ward today.

When the fire started, they selflessly told all the male house officers: "You guys go and save the patients. Do what you need to do. They need manpower to lift the patients. We'll take care of the babies."

My medical officer today gave me a look during ward rounds and said: "You can't focus on rounds today, can you Muhaimin? You want to go there and help. Go lah. Be safe."

And that's how all of us managed to come and help in the Emergency Department and other parts of the hospital.

3) The health assistants, nurses and assistant medical officers (MAs).

All my health assistants.

You have no idea the part they played today. Some of them carried oxygen tanks from place to place, with sweat dripping from their foreheads to make sure everyone is safe.

I know some of them have osteoarthritis but they were so strong today. Nurses and MAs are so efficient that some orders were carried out without words. Everyone knew what they should do and where they should be. Some of them sacrificed their lunch hour just to make sure patients are not left alone in new wards.

4) The Fire and Rescue Department.

They are the bravest souls who ran into the fire to try to save our patients. Some of them looked so tired in their heavy gears. They are the unsung heroes of today.

5) NGOs.

Tzu Chi, (PAS's) Unit Amal, (Amanah's) Arif and many more. Thank you for the water and food. Even McDonald's came and provided burgers to everybody. In less than three hours, aid came in non-stop that we had to redistribute the supplies to other departments.

6) The off-duty officers.

A lot of my house officer friends and nurses, assistant medical officers and health assistants alike, who were on their off days came to the hospital, some in their sport attires and helped. (You know how much off days mean to us.)

I managed to get a break to drink water today after my friend who was posted at night came and substituted for me. Some came with red eyes and tired faces. May Allah repay you for your kindness.

7) The specialists.

I mention them at the end because I think they deserve the greatest thank you of all.

Can you imagine organising a ward that was built for medical patients, but in less than 30 minutes, was full of patients from the intensive care unit, orthopedics, surgical, neurology and many more?

The specialists were the calmest in the ward. They rallied the house officers and medical officers, gave perfect orders and positioned everyone at the right stations so that everything went smoothly.

From ordering a house officer to take blood, till ordering nurses to make a checklist and do head counts, they managed to turn a chaotic day into order. Thank you for showing us good leadership.

Let us pray for the deceased. May their souls rest in peace.

Share this story


By posting a comment, you agree to our Terms & Conditions as stipulated in full here


Foul language, profanity, vulgarity, slanderous, personal attack, threatening, sexually-orientated comments or the use of any method of communication that may violate any law or create needless unpleasantness will not be tolerated. Antisocial behaviour such as "spamming" and "trolling" will be suspended. Violators run the risk of also being blocked permanently.


Please use the report feature that is available below each comment to flag offending comments for our moderators to take action. Do not take matters in your own hands to avoid unpleasant and unnecessary exchanges that may result in your own suspension or ban.