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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

'VVIPs draw copters away from dying patients'


FLOODS A frustrated medical officer has lamented that VVIPs who surveying the flood crisis on the East Coast are drawing limited helicopters away from critical patients who need to be urgently transported to hospitals.
Dr Afiq Rahim, a medical officer at the Badang health clinic in Kota Baru, related how a helicopter was withheld from his patient who had been bleeding profusely from a cervical tear.
The medical officer, who has been keeping a diary on Facebook about his experience since the floods began, said the incident took place last Sunday.
Relating his experience, Afiq said he had successfully helped deliver a baby that morning, but to his horror, the mother began bleeding as she suffered a cervical tear.
“The wound was quite big and the bleeding was profuse. I turned pale and weak. I have never sewn up a cervical tear before, what more without sufficient anaesthetic and equipment,” he said.
Afiq said his colleague, a gynaecology medical officer, arrived in time and helped sew up the wound without anaesthetic, while he called in for a helicopter to take the patient to Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM).
They then put the patient on a trolley to be transported after being informed that a helicopter would be arriving at Kolej Jamiah Islamiah Putra, some 10km away from the Badang health clinic.
However, Afiq said, the patient suffered complications. She began to bleed again and went into shock due to heavy blood loss.
'VVIPs over patients'
“We resuscitated her and immediately transported the patient. At the college, the helicopter was nowhere to be seen.
“We took the patient to the canteen. The patient was weak. Her life appeared to be on the edge, as if the angel of death was standing by her head,” he said.
They then resorted to massaging her to stimulate Oxytocin hormones to help her womb contraction.
“Finally we were informed that a government agency’s helicopter was on its way, but not long after, we received heartbreaking news.
The message was: “Dr, we have to hold the helicopter for a VVIP who wants to visit the flood region.”
“It was like being struck by lightning and I shouted into the phone: ‘What! I need my helicopter now, now now! Patient is dying here.
“I turned off the phone, feeling frustrated. Frustrated because the authorities failed to put priority on lives over VVIP individuals,” he said.
In the interim, Afiq said, they managed to secure an intravenous line which was used to perform a fluid resuscitation on the patient, who recovered consciousness some 30 minutes later.
“Only after five pints of Hartmann (solution) and four pints of normal saline, aggressive massage and moral support, Allah extended her life,” he said.
However, the helicopter was still nowhere to be seen, and they were later asked to transport the patient to SMK Badang, some 500 metres away as another incoming helicopter could not locate the coordinates of the college.
Nuri still missing, maritime copter to the rescue
He was later informed that a Nuri helicopter would be arriving, and was asked to also evacuate all patients at the Badang health clinic.
But Afiq’s troubles did not end there, as he was later asked to attend to a stage four breast cancer patient.
“A woman in her 50s was in serious condition and had to be carried. It was clear her breast cancer had reached stage four and her breast was like a papaya filled with pus that was going to explode.
“Her condition was very serious,” he said. It was at this time that a blue and white maritime helicopter finally arrived.
“I had no choice, the Nuri helicopter had yet to arrive. I needed to transfer the two critical patients immediately before it was too late and only two patients can fit in the helicopter,” he said.
The helicopter arrived between 1pm and 2pm, some five to six hours since the ordeal began.
Afiq said he then allowed the helicopter to transport both patients to HUSM while he stayed back.
The helicopter returned some 20 minutes later, and all remaining patients were transported to the hospital. - M'kini

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