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Parents of suspected JE victim claim hospital failed to detect disease

Source: NST-1 July 2014

GEORGETOWN: Parents of Muhammad Ammar Muqrish Zulkifli, 12, who was diagnosed with Japanese Encephalitis (JE) infection last month, are upset over the apparent negligence by the government hospital where he was first brought for a check-up.

In a press conference at a private hospital, Ammar’s mother, Haniza Ayob, 40, said the Kepala Batas Hospital has failed to diagnose her son’s problem the first time around.

“The hospital staff sent us home, saying Ammar was merely ‘hysterical’. I knew something was amiss, but I did not argue with the doctors.

“As his symptoms persisted, they finally admitted him. However the care they provided was very disappointing,” she said.

On May 16, Haniza sought treatment for Ammar at two private clinics, before admitting him to the Kepala Batas Hospital.

Ammar was warded for four days at the general hospital, before being transferred to a private hospital in Bayan Lepas on May 2.

He was admitted there for meningoencephalitis (meningitis and inflammation of the brain) and was discharged after 10 days.

Upon returning for a check-up on June 26, Ammar had a seizure and was subsequently warded in the Intensive Care Unit.

Haniza claimed that, during the four-day period of Ammar’s stay in the hospital, she found her son lying in a pool of his own blood on the bed.

“The intravenous drip needle attached to him with a single tape became loose and blood was dripping from the puncture the whole night.

“I was unhappy and demanded Ammar to be transferred to a different hospital. So I requested if they could transfer my son to the Penang Hospital, they told me it was full and asked me to take him to Temerloh or the general hospital in Johor Baru,” she said.

Haniza felt that the reluctance of the hospital to transfer the boy out had reduced the chance of him getting better sooner.

In response to Haniza’s complaints, Penang Health Director Datuk Dr Lailanor Ibrahim said an internal investigation will be conducted soon.

“We have not received any formal complaint, but we will conduct our own investigation and make suitable reparation if the hospital found is found to be negligent,” he said when contacted.

Meanwhile, state Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Baharudin said the local authorities will cull the animals in the Kg Selamat pig farms if they are confirmed to be carriers of the disease.

"Fogging will be carried out at Kampung Selamat area to ensure safety," he said.

On the same note, Dr Lailanor said the Health Department will conduct checks on the residents of Kampung Selamat.

"After fogging, we will conduct an Active Case Detection, where those with symptoms of the disease will be put under observation," he said.

Ammar, a Standard Six pupil of Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampung Selamat in Tasek Gelugor, who was in coma for five days, regain consciousness today.

Pantai Hospital consultant neurologist Dr Wong Yee Chuan said Ammar was able to open his eyes, move his hands and legs slightly but he was unable to talk or walk.

"Due to the complications from the disease, Ammar is now suffering from damage to the brain and there is a 50 per cent chance his brains will not function properly after this.

“For now, however he suffers from occasional seizures and fever," he said.


Source: NST, 1 July 2014
BALVIN KAUR balvinkaur@nst.com.my




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