“Unusual: hospital deaths: DAP calls for probe

Statement on 25.8.1973:

DAP Secretary-General Mr.Lim Kit Siang today called for a full scale public inquiry into the unusually high rate of maternally and surgical deaths at the Malacca General Hospital between Aug.6 and 16.

“This high death rate connected with the breakdown of the autoclave – the sterilization plant – in the hospital” said Mr.Lim in a letter to Health Minister Tan Sri Lee Siok Yew today.

He added the Ministry should, in future, make sure that all equipment in hospital is in perfect order so that such cases would not recur.

He said during the breakdown of the autoclave bottles and containers were contaminated as they could not be properly sterilized.

“Thus blood, saline or glucose put into these bottles for transfusion was contaminated and such contaminated blood and the saline transfer into the bodies of the sick and weak could only lead to fatal results.” Mr.Lim said.

He added that the people know that the hospital’s autoclave broke down for some time without action being taken either for replacement or repair and that the Malacca Hospital Authority destroyed 42 bottles of blood and over 2,000 bottles of saline in the period.

The Malacca Health Authority, however, is installing two new autoclaves and meanwhile getting supplies of sterilised equipment from Seremban.


Mr.Lim added that there must however be no attempt to hush up the affair.

In a reply, Health Minister Tan Sri Lee Siok Yew said he had directed a full investigation into the matter.

“A committee with the secretary general of the Ministry as chairman, and represensitives of the Penang Science University, the University of Malaya (Faculty of Medicine), the Institute of Medical Research and the Ministry of Health has been set up for the purpose.”