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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Dead on hospital floor: Covid-19 patient's family wants police to probe incident

 


The family of a senior citizen - who yesterday died on the floor of a Covid-19 ward at the Old Sungai Petani Hospital in Sungai Petani, Kedah - wants police to investigate the cause of his death.

In a police report lodged this morning, the daughter of K Ehambaram, 74, said they suspected that his death was caused by his fall from hospital bed instead of the coronavirus.

They are seeking a post-mortem on the victim’s body and also mulling to initiate legal action against the hospital, claiming that it was negligence on the facility’s part.

“I suspect that my father had died due to the fall, which was caused by negligence on the hospital’s part, and not caused by ‘severe Covid Pneumonia’ as stated on a discharge note issued by the hospital.

“I want to lodge this police report to seek the police to investigate what had caused my father’s death and what was clearly negligence by the hospital,” said Ehambaram’s daughter, Chitradevi.

K Ehambaram

Yesterday, several short video clips started going viral on social media showing a hospital patient struggling to get himself back up, said to be after he fell on the floor.

According to the news portal Free Malaysia Today, the man was allegedly left unattended for about 40 minutes before he died. The videos show Ehambaram lying motionless on the floor before his body was covered using a blanket.

Following this, the Kedah state health director Dr Othman Warijo this morning issued a statement refuting claims that the victim was left unattended.

He claimed that medical personnel had rushed to the patient’s aid, but had to take some five minutes to don their personal protective equipment before entering the area.

“The patient was placed back on his bed and was pronounced dead. The cause of death was severe Covid-19 pneumonia,” Othman said in his statement.

According to him, Ehambaram was warded at the hospital since Aug 26 and was a Category 4 Covid-19 patient, who had to depend on oxygen supply. The patient, who had several comorbidities, was also not in a stable condition since his admission.

The director also claimed that the hospital had explained the incident to the victim’s family where they had allegedly accepted it well, and urged the public to stop circulating the videos in respect of Ehambaram's family.

However, activist David Marshel from NGO Malaysia Tamilar Kural, who accompanied Ehambaram's family members to the hospital this morning refuted Othman's statement.

Speaking to Malaysiakini, he claimed that the family was not briefed by the hospital about the incident other than the alleged cause of the patient’s death.

“I believe the statement was manipulated. It is not right, they have yet to do a proper investigation, and come up with this statement. The family was not informed about his condition or the incident.

“The only thing they informed the family about was the time of his death and cause of death. Not about the incident that had happened,” said Marshel.

He said the family had also never said they want the videos of Ehambaram to stop being circulated by the public as requested by Othman.

According to Marshel, who is also a politician, Ehambaram’s body had since been taken by authorities to the Alor Setar Hospital for post-mortem. - Mkini

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