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The "missing" ambulance from the Klang Hospital: No sign of ambulance after 44 minutes. But Zara has taken only 8 minutes. Who would believe Dr Ang's story?

Media Comment
by Ronnie Liu


(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday) :  In the news report published in the Sun today entitled " Director: Probe revealed ambulance dispatched to accident scene", the Selangor Health Department's investigations revealed that Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang had dispatched an ambulance immediately after receiving a call about an accident near the Batu Tiga toll (Elite Highway) on Dec 13.

Here's the report…

"In a statement today, Dr Ang Kim Teng, the department's health director, commended Zara Davies Abdul Rahman for her civic consciousness in assisting the injured victim but said there were some erroneous information in her account of her encounter with the hospital.

Two weeks ago, businesswoman Zara said she witnessed an accident on the highway and spent more than an hour waiting for an ambulance from the hospital, which allegedly never turned up. The accident victim, Mohd Yusry, died on the way to the hospital in a car.

Ang said investigations revealed the following:

  • The hospital's call centre received a call for ambulance at 1.52pm on Dec13;

  • Subsequently, a call was made to Zara by the ambulance crew at 1.57pm to clarify the location of the accident. The ambulance was dispatched immediately after that;

  • At 2.06pm, the centre received another call from Zara enquiring whether an ambulance had been dispatched. The centre specifically informed her that it was already on its way and will take some time to arrive due to heavy traffic and the distance from the hospital. This conversation was recorded in the centre's record system.

  • At 2.36pm, Zara again made a call to the centre requesting for directions to the hospital. She was given the assistance and arrived at the emergency department at 2.44 pm. The closed circuit TV recording showed the staff on duty had promptly pushed a trolley and followed behind Zara to fetch the victim from the car. "From the above, it is clear that we have promptly responded to the call for ambulance, and it is not true that Zara waited for more than an hour for the ambulance.

"It was also not true that she was told that the ambulance had not been sent as our audio recordings indicated otherwise," Ang said.

"We hope this clarification will lay to rest the allegations by Zara on the failure of the ambulance to arrive as she had already left the scene before the ambulance arrived.

"The Klang Hospital and other hospitals in the state would continue to strive for speedy response to all ambulance calls bearing in mind that distance and traffic conditions sometimes hamper our efforts to reach the scene speedily," he added."

Ok. Ang claimed that Zara called up at 2.36pm top ask for the direction from the accident scene to the Klang Hospital. And Ang said that Zara and Yusry arrived at the emergency department at 2.44pm.

Now, that's only eight (8) minutes! So, in 8 minutes, Zara managed to get to the hospital with an ordinary passenger car (without the usual sirens).

And Ang has admitted that the hospital received the first call from Zara at 1.52pm. From 1.52pm right up to 2.36pm, that's 44 minutes! So, in 44 minutes, Ang is saying that the ambulance dispatched by the hospital could not reach the accident scene. But didn't Ang have just admitted that It took only 8 minutes for Zara to arrive at the hospital?

So, what has happened to the ambulance during this long 44 minutes, Dr Ang Kim Ting?

We noted that Dr Ang did not tell us the exact arrival time of the so-called ambulance in his statement. So we do not know how long it has taken exactly for the ambulance to reach the accident scene. He also did not explain why it has taken so long for the ambulance to arrive at the accident scene. Dr Ang also did not tell us who were on duty on the day of accident (from the emergency control centre to the ambulance department). There's no way we can check unless the Ministry of Health is willing to own up. What kind of ambulance service do we have in Malaysia? After 50 long years of rule under the Umno–led Barisan Nasional Government, everything has gone hay wired!

Three months ago, the Health Ministry's director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican had said any ambulance response time that was longer than 15 minutes was unacceptable.

Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang has held both Dr Ismail Merican (known for his great appetite for publicity) and the Minister of Health Dr Chua Soi Lek to be responsible for Yusry's death. Ang's attempt has failed miserably. It's time for Chua and Merican to own up. Admit their mistakes and pay compensation to Yusry's family on humanitarian ground. Now!


* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP CEC member and NGO bureau chief

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