KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — The family of a deceased researcher and academic, Mohd Rum Anuar, is demanding information from the Shah Alam Hospital (HSA), following his death from Covid-19.
Mohd Rum was a lecturer with the Mara Technological University (Uitm) and a research officer with the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi), prior to his death.
In a statement today, law firm Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak, who was appointed by the family, said that the firm has already sent a letter of demand to the hospital.
The letter seeks three things: a full report following a report lodged by their client on June 15; Mohd Rum’s full medical report at the hospital; and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) on handling patients warded in the intensive care unit (ICU), visitations as well as usage of the hospital’s facilities.
“We have been informed by our client that her father, Mohd Rum Anuar, was admitted to the ICU, HSA on May 5, 2021 for treatment and surgery to remove an intestinal tumor. Mohd Rum was confirmed free of the Covid-19 virus when he was admitted to the hospital. Upon completion of the surgical procedure, Mohd Rum was admitted to the men’s surgical ward, bed 9A on the 13th floor, HSA for the recovery process as well as close monitoring with the help of oxygen (via tracheostomy method).
“After our client and her family were informed about Mohd Rum’s condition which still needed close monitoring during treatment period in the ward, the presence of several kin to take care of Mohd Rum did not get any objection from the guards, doctors and nurses on duty. The rotation initiative to take care of Mohd Rum by the other kin took place from May 20, 2021 to June 13, 2021.
“During that period, Mohd Rum’s health showed signs of recovery. On June 6, 2021, a doctor informed our client that the hospital was making preparations to discharge her father. However, another doctor who conducted an examination informed her that the discharge had to be delayed because the oxygen level in her father’s blood was still unstable,” the law firm said in a statement, adding that on June 9, 2021, another doctor however, had informed its client that Mohd Rum’s condition was improving.
Mohd Rum was later moved to bed 14, on the 13th floor of the hospital and placed next to a female patient who was on bed 13, in the same room. The firm said that through family members’ observation while caring for Mohd Rum, the female patient reportedly displayed symptoms of severe coughing and was not wearing a face mask, raising concern among the now deceased’s family members who were caring for him, who feared that he might develop any infection from the female room occupant.
The firm said that based on their client’s account, the female patient was not segregated into a separate room.
“The kin informed the HSA about the situation, but was told that no immediate action would be taken. The kin was only informed by the physician that the female patient in bed 13 was positive for Covid-19 on June 13, 20201, that is after five days Mohd Rum started sharing the room.
“On the same date, Mohd Rum too had shown some unusual symptoms throughout his care, such as high fever and vomiting five times. On June 14, 2021 Mohd Rum again experienced vomiting three times.
“Following the incident, a swab test for Covid-19 was performed on Mohd Rum on June 13, 2021 and was confirmed positive for Covid-19 through the June 14, 2021 dated test results,” the firm said.
The firm said that Mohd Rum was categorised as a category patient, as he required respiratory assistance and was transferred to the Covid-19 patient ward. He was however pronounced dead at HSA on June 21, 2021, at 4.22pm, as a result of severe covid pneumonia with underlying colon carcinoma.
The firm said that their client’s family wants to get a certainty and thorough explanation from the HSA on the incident, as the matter is a serious issue which must be taken into consideration by all the involved parties, with an immediate course of action and investigation done by the hospital.
“Issues involving Covid-19 need to be addressed immediately as it involves individuals who are at high risk of being infected with this deadly virus. Following this case, almost all family members of Mohd Rum were confirmed positive for Covid-19 and had to undergo quarantine.
“However, family members of Mohd Rum greatly appreciate and praise the efforts and hard work of the frontline staff who worked hard to treat Mohd Rum throughout his stay at the HSA, and accept his demise,” the firm added.
In a virtual press conference with the media and family members of Mohd Rum on the matter, lawyer Wan Azmir Wan Majid said that the 14-day period given to HSA to respond lapses today.
However, the firm is providing another week, failing which it would proceed to file a discovery application and a lawsuit thereafter, on his client’s instruction.