PETALING JAYA: The 27-year-old anaesthesiologist who died on her way home after an ‘on-call’ duty in Sungai Buloh Hospital managed to catch some rest, despite suggestions that she might have fallen asleep behind the wheel due to fatigue.
Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said he was informed that Dr Afifah Mohd Ghazi had finished her shift at 8am on July 8, but chose not to head home as she had planned to meet someone in the afternoon on the same day.
“Several senior officers from the Health Ministry had met with her husband, Dr Mohd Hafizuddin Azman at her funeral and it is undeniable that she was on an ‘on-call’ duty with five others from the Anaesthesiology Department.
“We were informed that she did not go home straight after ‘passing over’ 8am as she had plans to meet someone with her husband in the afternoon.
“She only went home around 2.30pm, after the meeting. While waiting, she took rest at an ‘on-call’ room provided,” said Dr Noor Hisham, in a statement to Bernama.
Dr Afifah, had died in a road accident in Sungai Buloh on Wednesday, while returning home from the hospital.
She died on the spot after the Perodua Kelisa she was driving hit a tree at about 3pm.
The tragic story of her death had gone viral on the social media, calling for the Government to relax its rules on doctors, who often have to work between 24 and 36 hours at a stretch during an ‘on-call’ duty.
Many doctors have also shared their post-call fatigue experiences, saying that they often risked their lives driving home after finishing their shift.
Taking the matter seriously, Dr Noor Hashim said although he was aware of the issues that may be related to the incident, the hospital management had vowed to improve the working environment.
He said this could be seen when the Anaesthesiology Department normally schedules up to six medical officers to be ‘on-call’ on daily basis.
“Although we can’t deny that the accident could have occurred due to fatigue, it could also be caused by other factors that need to be taken into account,” he said.
He added the Health Ministry has taken note all proposals to improve the working hours, but stressed that all facts need to be scrutinised before any decision can be made.
Dr Noor Hisham also extended his condolences to Dr Afifah’s family.
Dr Afifah left behind her husband, who is a neuro-surgical doctor at the Sg Buloh Hospital, and a year-old son.
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