HRPB Justified Paramedic Withholding CPR With 15-Minute Cut-Off Point, Says Victim’s Family

Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB) admits that its medical assistant’s algor mortis finding in the case of Kumaraveloo Terpari @ Thirupathy was inaccurate.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 – The family of the late Kumaraveloo Terpari @ Thirupathy said today that Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB) told them its ambulance response team correctly withheld cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from him, as first responders arrived beyond 15 minutes from the victim’s cardiac arrest. 

Lawyers representing Kumaraveloo’s family, in a statement today, said his family were called to attend a meeting with HRPB directors and officials from the Perak state health department yesterday at 10am at the latter’s office to discuss HRPB’s ambulance response last April 13 for Kumaraveloo, who died from a heart attack that day.

Kumaraveloo’s older brother, Dr Thiru Terpari @ Thirupathy, who was physically present at yesterday’s meeting, said HRPB admitted that the medical assistant’s (MA) finding of algor mortis (body turned cold) during its emergency medical response was inaccurate, according to the family lawyers’ statement. 

HRPB also admitted that its MA left Kumaraveloo in his car without removing him to be placed on a stretcher and that the MA withheld CPR intervention. 

However, HRPB maintained the MA’s actions were done according to protocol, as per the Ministry of Health (MOH) hospital’s policy of a 15-minute cut-off point for CPR, claiming that Kumaraveloo had cardiac arrest for more than 15 minutes. Cardiac arrest is a medical condition in which one’s heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. 

“Cikgu Kumar’s family rejects HRPB’s internal inquiry findings because the internal inquiry panel merely concluded that the MA had followed protocol based on his statements and did not investigate the incident,” Kumaraveloo’s family lawyers from Baldip Dil & Partners said in the statement.

Kumaraveloo’s family, therefore, welcomed the Perak state health department’s proposal for an independent inquiry to investigate the incident. 

“Cikgu Kumar’s family regrets that this episode has still not been settled by the respective departments. The family hopes that justice can be seen to be done to put this matter at rest.”

Kumaraveloo’s family, comprising four of his siblings, including Dr Thiru, arrived with lawyer Amirul Fairuzzeen at the meeting yesterday. Two other siblings were present virtually via Google Meet. 

However, the lawyer, representing Dr Thiru, was denied entry into the meeting and was not allowed in to act or represent him on his behalf.

“This is a clear violation of Dr Thiru’s rights to be represented by his choice of solicitor granted under the Federal Constitution,” Kumaraveloo’s family lawyers said.

Dr Thiru previously accused the Ipoh general hospital’s ambulance service of allowing his brother to die from a heart attack by failing to perform CPR.

Also present during the meeting were HRPB director Dr Megat Iskandar Megat Abdul Hamid and HRPB deputy medical director Dr Jamuna S. Arunasalam.

Representing the Perak state health department were state deputy medical director Dr Norisah Mahat Nor, forensic services chief Dr Mohd Shafie Othman, head of emergency and trauma services Dr Adi Osman, head of medical assistants Mohd Aziz Mohd Nor, medical-legal unit representative Dr David Raj, and meeting secretariat Dr Maisarah.

Last April 13, Kumaraveloo, a 43-year-old teacher from SMK St Michael in Ipoh was driving home after work when he had breathing difficulty and collapsed in his car on a road in the Perak state capital. 

The paramedic from HRPB’s Medical Emergency Coordination Centre (MECC), who attended to him, withheld CPR and pronounced Kumaraveloo’s death in 10 minutes after arriving at the scene. HRPB’s ambulance arrived at the scene within 10 minutes from the hospital, read the family lawyers’ statement.

An eyewitness, who made the 999 call, previously told CodeBlue that Kumaraveloo collapsed in his car during a traffic jam, causing his vehicle to bump into the former’s vehicle at approximately 6.10pm, which was about 20 minutes prior to the arrival of the ambulance at 6.30pm.

The federal MOH’s target emergency response time for public hospital ambulance services is less than 15 minutes for critical cases.

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