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Friday, July 29, 2011

Najib, Liow caught in a lie: Children demand explanation

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:06 AM | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Election promises made by the Barisan Nasional are often not kept, but for two siblings, they will never forget the broken promises made by Prime Minister Najib Razak and Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai,’which contributed to the death of their father. And both siblings want answers from the PM and Liow.
Tan Chong Chern and his sister, Tiney Tan from Sri Aman told reporters today that during the State election, both Najib and Liow went to Sri Aman and assured the people there that they would have a new hospital, two specialists, an ambulance (the present one is a van converted into an ambulance) and more medical staff. The BN candidate for Simanggan, Sri Aman, Dr Francis Hardin Hollis won the election.
That was three months ago, and today, nothing much has changed at the Sri Aman hospital where their father breathed his last.

Bureaucratic red tape
The siblings’ problems with the hospital go back July 19 last year when their 53-year-old father, national volleyball player Tan Ting Hui, had heart problems. Tan Sr was asked to go for surgery on August 18 last year at the Sarawak General Hospital, but doctors told him that he could wait and take medication instead.
On June 27, Tan Sr went back to the hospital for the operation but was told that since the SGH Heart section had moved to Sarawak International Medical Centre (SIMC) which caters for Heart diseases, they could not operate on him based on the booking appointments made previously by the SGH and he had to make new bookings.
Doctors at the SIMC gave the Tan family two options, which were to allow Tan Sr to stay in the SIMC, while they slot in a time for his operation or to go back and wait for the hospital to inform them. The family decided to let Tan Sr stay in the hospital as it meant that his chances of getting operated on would be faster.
Chong Chern said in the three weeks that his father stayed at the SIMC, his father complained of chest pains three times but each time, the doctors gave him medicine to stabilize him.
Dying and still the doctors delay
When the family asked doctors when they were going to operate, one doctor told the family that if they could not wait, they could go to the private hospital. Chong Chern said he learned that a Dr Jong was the same person who would be operating patients from both private and public hospital.
“We are not rich people so why do we need to pay a hefty sum of money to go to private hospital to be operated by the same doctor?’ he asked.
On July 18, the family was told that Tan Sr would be operated at 7 am the next day. The family expressed relief and after preparation was done at 6 am on the 19th July, a nurse told them that Dr Jong was sick and unable to operate. The next day, in the early morning of July 20th, they told the Tans that the doctor will operate on July 21st.
Chong Chern said doctors are human so he did not want to make any comment on the cancellation of the operation.
At 11 am the same day, a doctor came to see the family and said Dr Jong has to postpone the date of the operation again as his father’s condition did not allow him to do so. The same doctor said Tan Sr could be discharged on the same day and could come back on August 3 for an MRI check, Chong Chern said.
“It was already three weeks wait and my father was anxious to go back to Sri Aman after being away so long. The doctors even told us not to worry and gave us stronger medication for my father. They told him that he could walk around but to watch out for his food.
The last journey
So on July 20 afternoon, Tan Sri was discharged and went back to Sri Aman. On the 21st night, his father complained of being unwell and wanted to go to the hospital. The family rushed him to the Sri Aman hospital where he passed away. The hospital did not even have an oxygen tank, said Chong Chern.
Chong Chern whose sister sobbed quietly during the press conference said they may be poor but it did not mean that their father’s operation should be delayed just because he could not afford private medical care.
He wondered if Liow Tiong Lai only made the promise of hiring specialists to fish for votes before going back to West Malaysia and conveniently forgetting about what he hadsaid.
“Building a hospital is a long term plan but I am sure with urgent needs at Sri Aman, the Health Ministry should have transfer a specialist there as promised,” Chong Chem said.
State assemblywoman for Batu Kawa, Christina Chiew said SIMC, which was officiated early this year, was termed a five-star hospital like Hilton hotel.
“There is an estimated 1,500 heart patients annually and there is no point of having a beautiful hospital that lacks manpower to run it. A heart patient needs at least 6 months to wait for his orher turn to be operated on and that is a long wait for ill people,” said Christina.
Bail-out project
Chong Chieng Jen said the SIMC was a bail out project by the Federal government. “It took the SIMC 10 years to be constructed and cost RM400 million, that is a bed costing an average of RM1.2 million which was grossly over-estimated,” he said.
Pointing out that government is not taking the health issue as a priority, Chong lamented that two heart specialist surgeons whom he knew of had wanted to come back to serve in the state.
“One is working in England, another in Taiwan, both developed countries and had written in to the Ministry two months ago. There is always this talk of getting professionals back but to-date, the two doctors have yet to hear from the Ministry of Health. So are we saying that the two doctors are under qualified to serve in Malaysia and thus have been rejected," Chong threw the question to Liow.
Chong also wanted both the hospitals - SGH and SIMC - to give statistics of how many patients had passed on due to the long waiting list for surgery. He said the people needed to know how they were taken for a ride by such poor medical services, with the government only keen to spend on the construction of the building to benefit the crony developer firms.

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