PENANG: Patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like symptoms who were “turned away” by doctors have been urged to lodge complaints with the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).
MMA president Datuk Dr N. Athimulam said clear guidelines on handling such cases had been issued to all doctors, adding that patients could fax their complaints to 03-40418187 if the Health Ministry's instructions were breached.
“We have told the doctors to call the designated ambulance if they suspect SARS cases. If the patient refuses to go by ambulance, then he must be advised to wear a mask when travelling to the designated hospital,” he said, adding that extra caution had to be taken to check the transmission of the disease.
Dr Athimulam said healthcare workers at clinics and non-designated hospitals would only be quarantined if the patients they came into contact with had been confirmed with probable SARS.
“In Malacca, for example, suspected SARS patients would be asked to wear a mask and sit in a different room while waiting for the ambulance from the designated hospital,” he said.
He said there was no need to be “overly worried” about SARS because the number of probable cases was very few.
The 30-year-old Transmile Air Cargo pilot admitted to the Penang Hospital on April 24 as a probable SARS case was discharged on Sunday.
This brings to two the number of patients with probable SARS discharged from the hospital, the first a 54-year-old woman discharged on April 25.
The Health Ministry has not declared the status of the 49-year-old bargeman sent from the Bukit Mertajam Hospital to the Penang Hospital last Monday.
Health deputy director-general Datuk Ismail Merican said the case was under investigation as the man had not travelled to any of the affected countries.
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