KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 – Police are investigating a Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB) medical officer over his complaint about how the Ipoh general hospital managed its emergency medical service for his brother.
Lawyers at Baldip, Dil and Partners, who represent the late Kumaraveloo Terpari @ Thirupathy’s family, in a statement last Monday said Dr Thiru Terpari, Kumaraveloo’s brother, was called in for investigation by the police on July 21 after a police report was lodged by HRPB’s paramedic on June 29.
The HRPB medical assistant (MA), whom Dr Thiru accused of allowing his brother to die from a heart attack by withholding cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), filed a police report alleging that Dr Thiru had stolen his brother’s prehospital care notes and defamed the paramedic in the media, the statement read.
CodeBlue’s June 22 report headlined “Ipoh teacher dies in ambulance response that allegedly skipped CPR”, however, did not name the HRPB paramedic in question. Although the U29 assistant medical officer was named in Dr Thiru’s complaints to the police and MOH, such complaints are internal documents that are not generally disclosed to the public.
On July 14, Dr Thiru and six of his siblings were called to attend a meeting with the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) independent external inquiry panel to discuss HRPB’s ambulance response in the April 13 case involving Kumaraveloo.
The family arrived with lawyer Baldip Singh at the meeting, but the counsel was denied entry. The lawyer, representing Dr Thiru, was not allowed in to act or represent him on his behalf.
According to Dr Thiru’s account, the external inquiry panel, chaired by the head of Ampang Hospital’s emergency and trauma department Dr Ridzuan Mohd Isa, agreed that the paramedic who attended to Kumaraveloo “should have done” CPR to resuscitate him.
“However, the paramedic did not do CPR or resuscitate Cikgu Kumar (Kumaraveloo) as he was not in his right mindset and [was] misled by the phone call made by the witness to Malaysian Emergency Coordination Centre (MECC), HRPB, alleging that it’s a motor vehicle accident and Cikgu Kumar, as a result of the accident, suffered traumatic cardiac arrest,” the lawyers said.
Kumaraveloo’s family rejected the excuse given by the independent inquiry panel, claiming that the paramedic not only failed to conduct his own clinical assessment, but there was also no evidence on the scene to suggest that it was a trauma event with physical injuries.
“The paramedic who attended to Kumaraveloo on April 13 himself had documented the case as [a] medical case and not [a] trauma case in the prehospital care note.
“The independent external inquiry panel has further refused to reveal what actions will be taken by the MOH against the paramedic.
“Kumaraveloo’s family await the outcome of the police and coroner’s investigation into their complaint before deciding on their next course of action,” the statement read.
Besides Ampang Hospital’s Dr Ridzuan, the external inquiry comprised members from other MOH hospitals, namely cardiologist Dr Asri Ranga Abdullah Ramaiah (Serdang Hospital), emergency and trauma physician Dr Teo Aik Howe (Penang Hospital), forensic medicine specialist Dr Siew Sheue Feng (Kuala Lumpur Hospital), as well as a chief assistant medical officer from Seri Manjung Hospital, according to Kumaraveloo’s family.
The family of Kumaraveloo, who died from a heart attack at age 43, has accused HRPB paramedics of negligence by withholding 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 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.