We’ll be lodging a report, says Subra

PETALING JAYA: An official complaint will be lodged with the Singapore Government over a baseless allegation by portal about the death of hit-and-run victim Justinian Tan, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

He said the letter to express discontent over the article would be submitted after a discussion with the Foreign Ministry’s legal department.

“The letter will relay our feelings and views on the actions of the portal.

“It is up to the Singaporean Government to decide on the next course of action,” said Dr Subramaniam, who lashed out at the portal for its “irresponsible” reporting.

In their article, said an ambulance took 30 minutes to arrive at the accident scene along Jalan Dato Abdullah Tahir, in Taman Abad, on Aug 25.

Singaporean 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.

The report, based on information provided by one of Tan’s friends, also claimed the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) had demanded a deposit from the victim’s friends before treating the patient.

Tan died at about 12.30am on Aug 30 at the Singapore General Hospital, when he was taken off life support.

On Friday, Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah denied there was any delay or demand of payment before Tan was treated.

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, arrived at the scene at 3.10am and left with the patient at 3.15am.

Dr Noor Hisham said Tan 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.

“It is important to note that the emergency imaging and treatments required were not withheld or delayed,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

Tan’s friend, Joshua De Rozario later told The Straits Times there could have been a “miscommunication” with HSA staff.

“When the accident happened, a lot of things were going on at once, so the wait for help to come felt really long then. I thought it took 30 minutes but their logs said differently,” said De Rozario.

“There were quite a lot of people there and someone called the ambulance. We were in a distressed situation and didn’t know what to do. In that situation, I didn’t have a sense of the time and it did feel like 30 minutes.”

He said when they got to the hospital, staff immediately treated Tan but were speaking in Malay.

As De Rozario and his friends could not understand the staff, they had difficulties communicating.

“What I heard was that we had to pay and in cash – it couldn’t be in card. We didn’t have much money on us so we had to go find an ATM. From our point of view then, it felt like we had to pay first,” he said

“Nothing was really communicated properly so it could have been a miscommunication. We didn’t even know where he was at the time, but after we paid they told us to go to the red zone.”

De Rozario added: “Truth be told, I don’t know and I can’t comment on whether the hospital did all they could. I’m not medically trained and we had communication problems because we did not speak much Malay. So we thought it was better to bring him back. Perhaps there were things lost in translation.”