SHAH ALAM: A healthcare provider at the National Heart Institute (IJN) who had looked after Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim was emotional when he related his experience of caring for the fireman, causing the court to be stopped for five minutes.
Surgical assistant Muhammad Ashraff Baruji (pic) turned teary-eyed when he told the inquest into Muhammad Adib’s death yesterday that he grew close to the patient while caring for him at the hospital’s intensive care unit.
“I gave Adib encouragement, especially when he was doing physiotherapy. Sometimes we would chat and I’d ask him about his family, his fiancee and his job,” said the 16th witness on the 10th day of the inquest.
He also said Muhammad Adib communicated with him, the medical team and those visiting him using hand or body signals and a whiteboard.
It was during one of his recollections of his conversations with the 24-year-old fireman that Muhammad Ashraff became emotional.
“What saddens (terkesan) me most was that once he wrote on the white board about wanting to drink juice.
“I told him: ‘When you are well, I will be the first to buy you juice’,” he said, tearing up.
It was then that judge Rofiah Mohamad, who is sitting as coroner for the inquest, called for a break so that the witness could compose himself before proceedings resumed five minutes later.
Muhammad Ashraff also said Muhammad Adib was really enthusiastic (semangat) when watching football while in ICU.
“There was once he raised his left hand when a team – I can’t remember which one – scored.
“At that time I joked: ‘Wow, Adib, that is good, now we can do more physio’.”
Muhammad Ashraff also told the coroner’s court that Muhammad Adib indicated to him that he remembered what happened to him that early morning of Nov 27, when he and his team members from the Fire and Rescue Department answered an emergency call at Seafield Sri Mariamman Temple.
He said this while under questioning from DPP Hamdan Hamzah, who is leading a three-member team from the Attorney General’s Chambers.
Hamdan: Can you tell the court?
Muhammad Ashraff: It was at night, we just finished his physiotherapy session and I was prepping him for bed when I asked him: “Do you remember what happened?” At first he shook his head.
“So I said: ‘That’s okay. When you are ready to tell me just do it’.
“Then I turned to leave but I felt Muhammad Adib pull my sleeve. He then nodded.
“I asked him: ‘Were you pulled?’ He used his left hand to make a pulling signal on his shoulder.
“I asked him: ‘Did you fall?’ He shook his head and also gestured no. I then asked him: ‘Do you remember being beaten up?’ He nodded.”
Muhammad Ashraf, however, only told others of the communication after Muhammad Adib’s death as he had felt the information was confidential between a patient and a health professional.
He said he only told IJN senior consultant cardiothoracic Datuk Dr Mohamed Ezani Md Taib, who is also head of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation team caring for the fireman, about the exchange around last Christmas.
Earlier, Datuk Dr Suneta Sulaiman, who is IJN’s ICU director, told the inquest that Muhammad Adib had his mobile phone but was strictly told to avoid browsing the Internet too much, as doctors were worried that he might come across reports about him.
Dr Suneta, the 15th witness, also got emotional when asked by DPP Zhafran Rahim Hamzah about Muhammad Adib’s prognosis at the start of his hospitalisation.
“Patient was very ill. I did not know whether he would make it or not. (I thought at that time) that likely he would die as we did not know whether he would respond to the ECMO machine,” she said.
“In my opinion, if we had not put him on the ECMO machine, he would have died shortly in the beginning.”
When asked by lawyer Mohd Kamaruzaman A. Wahab, who is representing Muhammad Adib’s family at the inquest, whether she had enquired if Muhammad Adib could remember what happened to him, Dr Suneta said she did.
“He shook his head,” she recalled.
The inquest continues today.
Muhammad Adib was critically injured when he and his team members from the Subang Jaya fire station responded to an emergency at the temple where riots were happening last November.
He was taken to SJMC before being transferred to IJN. He died at IJN on Dec 17.