Materia Medica Malaysiana

August 10, 2007

Ministry to probe into case of baby facing amputation

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:55 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has set up a committee to investigate the case of an 18-day-old girl who may lose her left arm following a botched attempt to give her an intravenous drip.
The committee, to be headed by the Selangor health director, will comprise paediatricians from public and private hospitals. Pandamaran state assemblyman Datuk Dr Teh Kim Poo will also be invited to join the committee.
Announcing this yesterday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the doctor attending to the girl would face “disciplinary or other action” if he was found to have been negligent.
He said the committee was expected to wrap up its work in two to three weeks.
Dr Chua was speaking after opening the KL International Breast and Colorectal Cancer Congress at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
It was reported that the baby was in critical condition as she was suffering from a blood infection.
When her condition deteriorated, doctors decided to give her a dose of antibiotics which could only be administered intravenously.
A doctor at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang is believed to have mistakenly inserted an intravenous drip needle into the baby’s muscle and tissue instead of a blood vessel last Friday.
The director of the hospital, Dr Yahya Baba, on Wednesday said initial investigations showed that the doctor had made a mistake.

Dr Chua said there had been a rise in the number of complaints lodged with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) on unethical practices by medical experts at private hospitals.
A major cause for concern is specialists who administered treatment beyond their area of expertise.
He cited three cases: A nephrologist who provided treatment for a patient who had the early stages of dengue and typhoid; another nephrologist who treated a patient with an auto-immune disease; and, a urologist who treated a bleeding ulcer.
The patient with the bleeding ulcer and the patient with dengue and typhoid died.
“Maybe this happens because of intense competition in the private sector. Or because people are deciding which specialist they should see … the specialists should have referred the cases to the right medical experts,” said Dr Chua.
In the two cases which resulted in deaths, the ministry had advised the families to sue the doctors responsible, he added.
Another complaint was that specialists were using untrained staff to conduct simple and free tests. After conducting the tests, they then referred the patients for follow-up treatment with certain specialists at private hospitals.
Untrained staff had been found conducting blood tests, taking blood pressure and measuring height and weight.
“There was one who told a patient she was fat and probably suffered from heart disease and should be referred to a particular cardiologist,” Dr Chua said, recalling a woman who had complained to him two weeks ago.
“As she could not afford to seek treatment from the particular cardiologist at the private hospital, her test results were withheld.”
Dr Chua said he went to the centre where the woman had the tests. He later reported it to the ministry’s medical practices division, which raided the place, but by then, the staff could not be found.

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