JOHOR BARU: Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the ministry is investigating a claim that a hospital in Johor withheld treatment for an accident victim until family and friends forked up payment first.
“We are investigating. Will issue a press statement after our investigation,” he told Free Malaysia Today in a WhatsApp message.
The DG was responding to reports that a 25-year-old Singaporean died after the accident in Johor Bahru and his friends blamed his death on the delay by the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in providing treatment.
Singapore daily The Independent reported that Justinian Tan was denied even preliminary medical scans until cash payments were handed over.
After waiting five hours for treatment, Tan’s friends contacted the Singapore embassy which arranged for a private ambulance to take him back to the island republic.
By the time the ambulance arrived at the Singapore General Hospital, doctors said nothing could be done as too much time had elapsed.
Johor health and environment committee chairman Datuk Ayob Rahmat had earlier told FMT that they were investigating the matter.
The English news portal is attempting to contact the Sultanah Aminah Hospital for a response on the matter.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Ravindran R Naidu said doctors are obliged to provide at least basic aid as a matter of medical ethics.
He said hospitals, whether government or private, could not refuse to treat patients during emergencies or life-threatening situations.
He said in such situations, it does not matter whether the patients are local or foreign.
“Our duty is to save lives. Money should not be an issue.
“No hospital is supposed to turn away those in need of help,” he told FMT.