Elderly accident victim dies while waiting for 3 days to be operated on

Voon (left) fielding questions from the press. Seen with her are state PKR Women's chief Nurhanim Hanna Mokhsen (centre) and Puncak Borneo Women's chief Iana Akam. 

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Jan 5: Recently, an 80-year-old man was involved in a road accident and both his legs were crushed.

At the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), he was told of the need to have an operation done, and he agreed. Papers were signed and the nurses prepared him for the operating theatre.

However, due to the piling up of last-minute emergencies cases, the octogenarian’s case was put on hold for one day at first, then for two days and then for three days.

Since he had to undergo an operation, he was told to fast, and fast he did, for one day at first, then for two days and then for three days!

Sadly, all the waiting in agony, the pain and the fasting took its toll on this senior citizen. But he no longer has to wait in agony. He is no longer fasting. He no longer needs an operation. For he has died.

This elderly man happened to be a relative of a close family friend of Voon Shiak Ni, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) National Women vice chief.

At a press conference today, Voon reminded SGH to exercise due attention during perioperative care in order to save more lives. She opined that the hospital needed to consider the perioperative period for the preparation of a patient’s surgical procedure as it is crucial to saving lives.

Saying that she was very disheartened by what had happened to the senior citizen, she related that he was all prepared for the operation; hence, he was told to fast.

“He waited from one day to three days without food. As a senior citizen, the 80-year-old patient was forced to fast for three days, and this is not right.”

Voon said she had to bring up the issue because she was told that cases of perioperative delays, prolonged waiting or postponements that occurred on the day of scheduled operations are very common.

However, Voon was quick to point out that she was not blaming the hospital staff as she could see that every medical personnel are fully occupied with their respective tasks and duties.

In fact, the hospital staff had been very courteous and patient when dealing with aggravated family members.

“However, this is a very sad case. The perioperative delays indeed have cost lives, and this cannot be denied.”

Voon said she was unsure if all the uncommon delays were regularly identified and documented to enable the hospital authorities to ease or reduce the number of delay cases.

She hoped the hospital authority would see to this issue and to come out with solutions or a better and organised system to manage scheduled operations to reduce the prevalence of perioperative delays and to save more lives. — DayakDaily