JOHOR BARU: There was no delay or any demand of payment before treating Singaporean Justinian Tan at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) here, said Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
While expressing his condolences to Tan’s family and friends, he refuted claims by an online news portal about what transpired before his death from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.
From ambulance service records, Dr Noor Hisham said the emergency call was made at 2.57am on Aug 25 and the ambulance left two minutes later and arrived at the scene at 3.10am, before leaving with the patient at 3.15am.
In an article, theindependent.sg reported that the ambulance from HSA took 30 minutes to arrive at the scene along Jalan Dato Abdullah Tahir, in Taman Abad.
Tan and his five friends were walking to their car after having supper when he and another friend were reportedly hit from behind by a Malaysian-registered car which did not stop.
Dr Noor Hisham said Tan, 25, was admitted to the Red Zone upon arrival at the Emergency Department and Advanced Trauma Life Support protocol, which was already initiated by the ambulance team earlier.
The Emergency Department team, he said, also initiated the necessary imaging (primary survey X-rays, CT-scan of brain, cervical and thorax) treatment (including intubation).
The case was referred to the relevant team in a very timely and professional manner, without asking for any deposit since this was an emergency case, he said.
“This is in line with the ministry’s secretary-general circular on March 4, 2015, regarding deposit payment for foreigners at public hospitals,” he said.
In view of the injury to his brain, Dr Noor Hisham said Tan was referred to the neurosurgery team and urgent decompressive craniectomy plus removal of clot and intracranial pressure monitoring were planned without demand for any deposit payment.
Subsequently, Tan’s family members arrived and were requested to make a deposit as per protocol for foreign patients.
“It is important to note that the emergency imaging and treatments required were not withheld or delayed,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
However, the family members opted to discharge him and arranged admission to a Singapore hospital, after understanding the risk involved in further delaying surgery.
Tan died at about 12.30am on Aug 30 at the Singapore General Hospital, when he was taken off life support.
The Malaysian Health Ministry had come under fire from netizens following the Aug 31 article.
Dr Noor Hisham urged all parties to be responsible with reports and comments, as releasing inaccurate information could lead to misunderstanding.
“The ministry has always valued life and does its best to treat any patient, regardless of background or nationality,” he said.
Johor Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the state government wants the Health Ministry to consider legal action against those responsible for the article.