KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 – An independent inquiry formed to investigate Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital’s (HRPB) ambulance response in the death of a heart attack victim will be chaired by the head of Ampang Hospital’s emergency and trauma department.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today that the Independent Investigation Committee, chaired by Dr Ridzuan Mohd Isa, who is also the immediate past president of the College of Emergency Physicians at the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (AMM), also comprises experts from other fields, such as forensics and cardiology, from hospitals outside the Ipoh general hospital.
The independent inquiry also has representatives from the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) headquarters in Putrajaya.
“They will conduct their investigation on July 14 at HRPB,” Khairy told a press conference today.
“I leave it to them. When the committee has informed its investigation results, firstly to the next-of-kin of the patient, then after that, we will think about whether we want to disclose it or not,” he added, in response to CodeBlue’s questions on when the independent inquiry’s findings would be released to the public.
The family of Kumaraveloo Terpari @ Thirupathy, who died from a heart attack at age 43, has accused HRPB paramedics of negligence by withholding cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from the school teacher after he collapsed in his car during a traffic jam last April 13 in the Perak state capital of Ipoh.
The prehospital care form signed by the HRPB medical assistant (MA) who attended to Kumaraveloo stated that CPR was withheld, besides claiming signs of algor mortis on the patient. Algor mortis is the second post-mortem stage of death when the corpse cools until the body temperature matches the outside temperature.
Photographs of the scene also showed that the patient was left inside his vehicle throughout the entire emergency medical response by HRPB’s ambulance response team.
Kumaraveloo’s family said in a statement last June 29 that they rejected HRPB’s internal inquiry findings that, as informed to them, justified the public hospital MA’s decision to withhold CPR from Kumaraveloo on the basis of a 15-minute cut-off point for the lifesaving intervention.
The HRPB ambulance arrived at the scene within 13 minutes of the MOH hospital receiving the emergency call from the MERS 999 centre, or within 20 minutes of Kumar’s reported collapse based on an eyewitness’s approximation as provided to CodeBlue.