Isnin, Oktober 15, 2012


Heart patient dies during 6-hr ambulance ordeal

Keningau 14/10/2012: A 55-year-old man suffering heart failure died while being transported by ambulance from the Keningau Hospital to Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Kota Kinabalu last Sunday.

Along the way the family members of the deceased had to grapple with a hosts of problems from the non-availability of ambulance driver to the ambulance breaking down and the replacement ambulance having no petrol.

All of which stretched what was supposed to be a two-and-half hour journey to some six hours to transport the patient, Yap Soon Min, 55, to the State Capital.

Candy Yap, 28 and her brother, Yap Kiam Chin, 19 said because of the extraordinary delay, Soon Min passed away while the ambulance was still more than 10 kilometres from the destination in Moyog.

Their ordeal began at 3am last Saturday when they sent their dad to the Keningau hospital after he complained of chest pain.

After checking their father's condition, the doctor confirmed that he was suffering from a massive heart attack. A blood clot was blocking one of his major blood vessels and it required emergency surgery which could only be done in QEH.

At about 6am, the doctor decided to send Soon Min to KK by ambulance.

But alas, there was no driver available since it was a Saturday and an off day for government staff.

An hour passed when they managed to find one driver who was willing.

But when it reached Tambunan, the driver decided to go to the hospital there to switch vehicles because the one they were in was breaking down.

This took another half hour because the Tambunan Hospital ambulance was not sufficiently equipped for an emergency.

When it was finally ready to move, the driver informed them that the ambulance was out of petrol. Hence, they had to stop by at the kiosk.

"When we reached Moyog, my father experienced two emergency episodes where his breathing was cutting off. He passed away at 11.45am, before reaching QEH," said Kiam Chin.

"We are very disappointed with the professionalism of the ambulance staff in both the Keningau and Tambunan hospitals," said Candy.

Her mother even had to beg the hospital staff in Tambunan to hurry up the process.

According to Candy, when arranging to send their father's body back to Keningau, the Tambunan ambulance driver refused, claiming that Tambunan ambulances were not permitted to enter Keningau territory.

"While on the way back to Keningau, we were informed that this ambulance also broke down at least three times," she said.

Kiam Chin said another issue that need to be brought up was the response time of the Keningau Hospital staff, especially in the emergency unit.

"When we first arrived at the hospital at about 3am, we found all the personnel, including the security guard, fast asleep.

We shouted for help, but there was no response and so we had to get the wheelchair ourselves to carry my father into the emergency area," he said.

He, however, praised the doctor and nurse, saying they acted professionally, doing everything they could to make the situation better.

"But everyone else just could not care less."

According to the siblings, they were told by people in the district that their ordeal was nothing unusual, going by past incidents.

"This rang a bell because our grandmother once had to be sent to the hospital as she was critically ill.

When the ambulance arrived at our home, the staff asked one of our relatives to carry our grandmother to the ambulance, rather than use the stretcher," Kiam Chin said.

"Our highlighting what happened to our family will hopefully change the work attitude of the hospital staff because a life can be saved," she said.

Keningau Hospital Director, Dr Adnan Balidran, when contacted, declined comment.

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