Kedah Exco Denies Abandoning Critical Non-Covid Patients

Dr Mohd Hayati Othman says he did not order prioritising coronavirus cases over non-Covid patients for ICU treatment.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — Kedah state executive councillor Dr Mohd Hayati Othman today denied instructing the triaging of patients for intensive care by prioritising Covid-19 cases over non-coronavirus critical cases.

Dr Mohd Hayati said he was misquoted by local daily Harian Metro that initially published an article with the headline: “Pesakit kronik, tiada harapan sembuh tidak lagi dihantar ke ICU — Exco Kedah” (Chronic patients without hope of recovery will no longer be sent to ICU — Kedah exco).

Harian Metro has revised its headline to: “Bimbang peluang pesakit bukan Covid-19 dirawat di ICU dinafikan” (Concerns that non-Covid-19 patients may be denied opportunities for ICU treatment).

Dr Mohd Hayati said he had told a Harian Metro reporter that the intensive care unit (ICU) in Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital (HSB) had a 92 per cent bed occupancy rate.

“I explained that we are concerned that beds will be full and this will affect non-Covid patients who need to be treated in ICU, to the extent that doctors will be torn in choosing who to admit to the ICU. Sometimes, the rights of other chronic patients to get ICU treatment had to be denied,” he posted on his Facebook page.

“The report was written as if it was my instruction to abandon other chronic patients needing ICU treatment to make way for Covid-19 patients in ICU. I hope Harian Metro can fix their report.”

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said earlier today that Covid-19 ICUs have reached more than 70 per cent bed occupancy rates across 32 hospitals in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Selangor, Perak, Kedah, Sarawak, Putrajaya, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, and Melaka — comprising the majority of states in Malaysia, except for Sabah, Labuan, Terengganu, Pahang, and Perlis.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah tweeted that as of yesterday, overall Covid-19 ICU bed occupancy rate has reached 83 per cent nationwide, saying that the country’s health care system is “under tremendous pressure”.

The National Security Council (NSC) is set to decide this afternoon on whether to impose tighter movement restrictions in a total lockdown across the country, as the new Covid-19 surge shows no signs of slowing.

MOH reported today 6,493 new Covid-19 cases.

Yesterday, a record high 6,806 new Covid-19 cases and 59 coronavirus-related fatalities were reported.

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