By Ketua Pambangkang and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, On Wednesday, 17 August 1977.
DAP calls for public inquiry whether the negligence of University Hospital and Kuala Lumpur General Hospital which has caused the death of a Red crescent General Service Officer.
I have written to the Minister of Health, Tan Sri Lee Siok Yew, calling for an inquiry whether the negligence of the University Hospital and the Kuala Lumpur Hospital which led to the death of a Red Crescent General Service Officer in May this Year.
On 21st May 1977, Amaladass Xavier, 51, General Service Officer of Red Crescent Society in Kuala Lumpur, complained of severe stomach pains. He was taken to a private clinic in Ipoh Road, Kuala Lumpur, and was referred by the general practitioner to the University Hospital by ambulance.
Amaladass Xavier was kept at the University Hospital for four or five hours, but was treated as an outpatient. He was refused admission on the ground that his was not an urgent or serious case. He was told to return to the University Hospital for another check-up four days later on 25th May.
Amaladass Xavier’s condition did not improve despite the pills from University Hospital – and continued to vomit and had stomach pain.
On 25th May, Amaladass was taken to the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital and was there again treated as an outpatient, given injection and pills, and told to return for another check-up two days later on 27th May.
On 26th May, Alamadass’s condition worsened, had severe vomiting and his stomach bloated up and ‘felt like stone’, acoording to his wife.
At about 2,030 p.m, on 26th May, Amaladass was taken back to the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, where he was given another check-up and admitted around 4p.m.
Amaladass died some 14 hours later on 27th May 1977 at 6.27a.m.
The cause of death, as given in the death certificate, was “Perforated Large Cut”. Amaladass Xavier is survived by four daughters, ages ranging from 8 to 19 years old.
If the University Hospital had admitted Amaladass Xavier on 21st May when he was first referred for admission by a general practitioner, it is more than likely that Amaladass Xavier would still be alive today. If the KL General Hospital had admitted him on the first occasion on 25th May, Amaladass Xavier would probably be still alive.
The circumstances of this case clearly call for a public inquiry into the death of Amaladass Xavier whether the negligence of University Hospital and Kuala Lumpur General Hospital had caused his death.
The Malaysian public have a right to expect a ever rising standard of hospital and medical care, and not deteriorating standards. As Minister of Health responsibility should be to inquire into every case where circumstances show a prima facie case of negligence and death as a result of such negligence, and not to cover them up, as the present Minister of Health is in the habit of doing. I hope that this time, Lee Siok Yew will act to show that he is alive to his Ministerial duties and responsibilities.