DAP Dr Yii demands investigation on overstretched Sibu Hospital allegations

Dr Kelvin Yii

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KUCHING, April 23: The Ministry of Health (MOH) and State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) have been urged to properly investigate allegations of overstretched Sibu Hospital where ICU beds were full, patients needed to be transferred to other wards and frontliners severely exhausted.

Bandar Kuching member of Parliament (MP) Dr Kelvin Yii raised this in referring to an article published by a portal based on an anonymous letter by a doctor at Sibu Hospital detailing that the hospital was at a breaking point as it was “forced to step down severely sick Covid-19 patients with poor prognosis from critical care to accommodate new cases in its Intensive Care Unit (ICU)”.

“The MOH and even SDMC must properly investigate and address the allegations made by our frontliners at Sibu Hospital with regards to the severity of the situation there and provide the necessary support in both medical equipment and manpower to avoid the hospital from being overstretched (that would in turn) put staff and frontliners at risk of burning out.

“And not punished these whistleblowers. The frontliners have been working for more than a year throughout the pandemic and they should be given the necessary support and not be threatened with disciplinary actions in such cases,” he said in a statement today.

Concerned about the critical situation at Sibu Hospital, Dr Yii reminded that Sibu Hospital is a hybrid hospital where non-Covid-19 patients also sought treatment there, thus putting a lot of stress not only on the healthcare system but frontliners.

“I demand that the MOH provide an update on the progress of the 430 medical personnel who will be sent to Sarawak to assist in our Covid-19 response.

“These personnel must be given all the needed support and arrangement to fly in and help as soon as possible. If needed, MOH should mobilise even more to cater for the rising need in Sarawak,” he urged.

He also called on MOH to provide adequate medical supplies and equipment to all hospitals in Sarawak and not let the ventilators fiasco happen again.

“We should not be taken for granted and the people living in Sarawak should not have to bear the consequences of years of neglect on our healthcare system in the region,” he added.

Dr Yii also expressed concerns on the official reports by SDMC which he claimed do not reflect the real situation on the ground.

“Based on anonymous doctors claims, there are currently 27 Covid-19 patients in Sibu Hospital’s ICU, which contradicts with SDMC’s official report yesterday (April 22) that stated there were only 12 active cases in ICUs statewide with five in Sibu.

“According to the source, 20 Covid-19 patients in Sibu Hospital are on ventilator support, with 15 of them intubated. SDMC’s report, however, claimed that Sibu Hospital and the Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centres (PKRCs) had 14 active intubated Covid-19 patients, out of 20 across Sarawak, as of yesterday,” he explained.

Dr Yii thus demanded for a more transparent and clear data reporting in order to instil confidence in the public and not create unnecessary perceptions that certain things were being covered up.

“Honest, transparent and clear reporting is crucial in a public health crisis, not only to instill public confidence but to provide necessary support or even intervention if needed,” he said. — DayakDaily