Report: Selayang Hospital Patient Stabbed By Another Patient Stranded In Emergency Department

Singapore’s Straits Times reports that a psychiatric patient in Selayang Hospital – upset about being stranded in the emergency room along with dozens of others as all wards were full – stabbed another patient earlier today, causing serious injuries.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 – A patient was seriously injured after getting stabbed by a psychiatric patient today in Selayang Hospital, as the latter was allegedly upset at being stranded in the overcrowded emergency department.

Singapore’s The Straits Times reported that all the wards at the public hospital in Selangor were full at the time of the incident and that dozens were waiting in the emergency room.

The psychiatric patient, according to the Singaporean paper, took a knife from the staff nurse pantry and stabbed the victim, a dengue patient, three times: once in the back and twice in the abdomen.

The Straits Times reported that the knife ended up wedged in the abdomen of the victim, who needs to undergo an operation.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, in a tweet, confirmed the stabbing incident, saying that the psychiatric patient had been brought in to Selayang Hospital by the police.

“It can happen anywhere. We need to safeguard our patients in emergency depts & our clinics. We have to review our SOP for patients with psychiatric disorders,” Dr Noor Hisham tweeted in reply to Hartal Doktor Kontrak, who tweeted the Straits Times report with the caption: “KKM have fallen. That’s the tweet.”

CodeBlue reported yesterday that the electronic medical record (EMR) system at Selayang Hospital – once a flagship hospital that was the first in Malaysia and globally to go fully paperless in 1999 – has deteriorated into an “embarrassing” and “demeaning” mess, according to four staff doctors, that creates unnecessary and stressful burdens for doctors, significantly delays operations, and leads to substandard care.

One of the doctors interviewed by CodeBlue said that patients are stranded in the emergency department of Selayang Hospital, a tertiary Ministry of Health (MOH) hospital, for between 24 and 72 hours.

The medical practitioner attributed the long waits for ward admission to not just the lack of beds and ward staff, but also to the lack of a proper EMR system that results in “inefficient ward patient management with delayed clinical decision-making, delayed clinical recovery, prolonged hospitalisation with associated complications etc.”.

CodeBlue reported last December that critically ill patients in Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB), a public tertiary hospital in Ipoh, Perak, are stranded for up to six days in the emergency department, due to the lack of beds and a shortage of doctors and nurses. CodeBlue’s report triggered similar complaints from other doctors working in government hospitals in the Klang Valley about days’ long waits in emergency rooms for admission.

CodeBlue’s nationwide survey last month among more than 1,600 health care workers in the government health service – which is reportedly suffering from dire staff shortages – showed that 95 per cent believe that the public health care system is currently in crisis.

More than half said they would go on strike, while seven in 10 said they were currently thinking of quitting the government health service. The majority of respondents said they were overworked, underpaid, burned out, and insecure about their career progression.

Editor’s note on Feb 15: This article was updated in paragraphs 5 and 6 with the Health DG’s verification of the stabbing incident.

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