KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 — The family of an elderly Covid-19 patient who died on the floor of the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital in Sungai Petani have lodged a police report in an effort to find out the cause of the man’s death.
News portal Malaysiakini reported that the complaint was lodged this morning by K. Ehambaram’s daughter, on suspicion that his death was caused by a fall from his hospital bed, and not Covid-19.
The family want a post-mortem to be conducted on the 74-year-old’s body and are also mulling a lawsuit against the hospital on the grounds of negligence.
“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,” Ehambaram’s daughter, Chitradevi was quoted as saying.
The Kedah Health director had earlier today responded to a video clip of the incident that went viral on social media yesterday and appeared to suggest the death was because medical staff was late in coming to his aid by some 40 minutes.
Dr Othman Warijo said that medical staff on duty at the hospital had attended to Ehambaram within five minutes of being alerted to his fall from his bed.
A 38-second video clip was circulated through WhatsApp yesterday showing a patient on his knees on the floor of a hospital bed and trying to pull himself upright.
The video was cut short and when it resumed, the patient was seen lying motionless with a urine bag beside him while another patient could be seen approaching to check on him.
Dr Othman explained that the Covid-19 patient was a referral from the Kuala Muda District Covid-19 Evaluation Centre and was admitted to the hospital on August 26.
“Throughout his stay in the ward, the patient was unstable and required an increasing level of oxygen pressure. However he was seen to be uncomfortable with the oxygen assistance equipment he had to wear, and was monitored more frequently by personnel who could speak in his mother tongue, to ease communication.
“Medical experts met with the patient’s family members on the same day, and explained the actual situation. They had been earlier informed of his declining health, and accepted the explanation provided by the hospital,” he said, adding that Ehambaram succumbed to severe Covid-19 pneumonia.
Malaysiakini also reported social activist David Marshel from the Malaysia Tamilar Kural organisation, who had accompanied Ehambaram’s family members to the hospital this morning, as refuting Dr Othman’s statement.
David claimed that the family was not briefed by the hospital about the incident, apart from 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,” David was quoted as saying.
David also reportedly said that Ehambaram’s body had since been taken by the authorities to the Alor Setar Hospital for post-mortem.