KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — The intensive care unit (ICU) wards in the south wing of Sultanah Aminah Johor Bahru Hospital (HSA) no longer operate after getting damaged in a fire three years ago.
Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad — who met Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar and Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim along with Johor state health director Dr Aman Rabu and other Ministry of Health (MOH) officials earlier today to discuss the matter — said he relayed this to the state palace.
Dzulkefly also explained why the state of the former ICU wards at the 70-year-old MOH hospital — which were damaged in the infamous 2016 fire that claimed the lives of six patients — was beyond repair.
“(It’s) because after the fire occurred, the integrity of the building was no longer the same as it was before the fire,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here.
“So, we carried out forensics and studies (and its findings) were (presented) to us, and we found that it would be inappropriate (for the ICU wing of the hospital) to continue operating as an ICU.”
Dzulkefly said MOH has since decided that the damaged ICU wing will be a lounge for patients who have been discharged, or a meeting place for patients and visitors.
He also said that RM114 million had been allocated to HSA to foot the costs of electrical wiring works, among others, which Sultan Ibrahim said would be upgraded next year.
Dzulkefly also said he reassured the Johor palace that the hospital’s safety and service would not be compromised during this time.
In a statement on the Johor Sultan’s Facebook page today, Sultan Ibrahim said he reminded Dzulkefly as well of what the state ruler said was the dire need for another hospital in Johor Baru.
“I want my subjects in Johor to enjoy improved public health services.”
On Monday, Tunku Ismail said he was “shocked” to see that the wards still showed remnants of the October 25, 2016 fire, claiming that “nothing” had been changed since three years ago.
“Is the welfare of Johoreans not important that important basic necessities such as this (have) literally been left abandoned?” he asked on Facebook.
His remarks came after CodeBlue reported that the parents of a victim of the HSA fire — 24-year-old Neeramaladevi Chandran — had filed a civil lawsuit against the public hospital’s director, the Johor state health director, and the government, over alleged negligence of patient safety.
Meanwhile, Dzulkefly said he had also discussed with the Johor palace about developments on the proposed Tunku Laksamana Johor Cancer Centre, in memory of Sultan Ibrahim’s late fourth child.
He said that the project, to be spearheaded by the Asian American Medical Group, would be an added value proposition in the country’s health care sector, adding that he would do all he can to facilitate the Johor Sultan’s desire for the centre.
Experts from Singapore and other parts of the world would be part of the cancer centre, once it is completed, and a potential land site has been identified, he pointed out but said he could not divulge further.