Ex Baram MP Harrison diagnosed with brainstem encephalitis


KUCHING: Former Baram MP Harrison Ngau who has been admitted to the intensive care unit at Timberland, a private hospital in Kuching, has been diagnosed with brainstem encephalitis, according to a statement in Sarawak Times, a WhatsApp group, by Save Rivers Chairman Peter N J Kallang.

“The prognosis is that he should recover within weeks,” added the statement.

According to the statement, the MRI was normal.

The neurologist then came up with the following diagnosis: Brainstem encephalitis possibly caused by an autoimmune or paraneoplastic syndrome (tumour that secretes antibodies).

The current plan by the doctors, said Kallang, was to send blood samples for investigation on autoimmune disease and paraneoplastic.

The doctors are also starting the patient on a high dose steroids and immunoglobulin. “The immunoglobulin is expensive, about RM50,000,” said the Save Rivers Chief.

An earlier statement, issued by Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS), said that Harrison was flown on Monday by chartered flight to Kuching at some RM37,000.

JOAS Secretariat Director Mark Bujang added in the statement the NGO was raising funds to help Harrison’s family meet his medical expenses.

Earlier, Mark who is also with the Borneo Resources Institute, Malaysia (Brimas), issued a plea for funds through Sarawak Times.

Donations can be sent to the former MP’s wife as follows:

Name: Uding Ngau
Account No: 161181039023
Bank: Maybank

Harrison was initially warded at Columbia Asia Hospital, Miri. Here, he underwent a CT Scan and MRI but they were not of high resolution. “So, the doctors were unable to see and confirm what was really wrong with him,” said Mark.

The doctors needed a higher resolution machine. There’s one at Miri General Hospital but there’s a long queue there. He had to be admitted for a few days before taking his turn at the machine.

Timberland, according to doctors in Miri, is the only facility in Sarawak where an urgent diagnosis can be done. “The doctors decided to refer the former MP to Timberland,” according to the Brimas statement.

Harrison was detained in 1987 during Operation Lalang, under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), for anti-logging activities.

He studied law, as a private student, in the late 80s.

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