Ministry may review protocols, after doctor complains about Hajiji

A specialist wrote in an open letter that Sabah chief minister Hajiji Noor did not have to wait for a bed.

PETALING JAYA: A review of protocols regarding Covid-19 patients may take place at the health ministry following a complaint by a government specialist about the special treatment given to Sabah chief minister Hajiji Noor.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today the specialist, who made his complaint in an open letter, had breached medical ethics when he mentioned that Hajiji Noor had been warded at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where there were about 400 Covid-19 patients.

The specialist, using the pseudonym “Dr Tachdijan”, said the chief minister was warded at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu “but like all VIPs, never had to lie in the Emergency Department waiting for a bed in the ward”.

He accused the government of “a lack of empathy and real action”, resulting in ignorance towards the true situation on the ground.

Noor Hisham said in a column on the Bernama website that the need to protect the identity of a patient is a major priority in the medical profession, and the specialist should have been well aware of the situation and “is quite familiar with the inner workings at Queen Elizabeth Hospital”

He added: “But maybe there is a need to review the protocol on handling a Patient Under Investigation who is confirmed Covid-19”, Bernama reported.

Noor Hisham said patients confirmed as Covid-19 positive who were found to be stable would be directly admitted into the Covid-19 ward. The same protocol was used for all cases regardless of their status in the community. He said there may be situations when cases need to wait for beds to be vacated in the Covid-19 ward, which happened from time to time.

The specialist’s open letter to the prime minister was published yesterday. He berated the prime minister and politicians for allowing the Sabah elections to be held, which he said “has led to the suffering of many today” and also accused “ministers and many other top officials who did not follow SOP and were let off the hook” as being “the real cause of the sudden surge of cases”.

He said healthcare workers “are tired and stretched thin” by the current crisis. “Resources such as personal protective equipment and other vital equipment are running low. Staff are being called to cover other departments as many of them are being quarantined,” he wrote.