Emergency departments in Klang Valley public hospitals under severe pressure, wards full

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Harrowing images of patients undergoing procedures on the floor of emergency wards, and severely ill patients waiting for beds began circulating on social media, as frustrated healthcare workers face an influx of patients.

In Klang’s Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR), a video shared by a healthcare worker on social media showed patients in dire condition waiting for beds and wheelchairs in the Emergency Department.

Malaysiakini understands that the hospital has about 280 beds in the Covid-19 wards, but more are waiting to be admitted.

Several sources told Malaysiakini there are about 100 patients, including non-Covid-19 patients, waiting for beds in the HTAR Emergency Department.

This means that the Emergency Department has to provide services like that of a ward – something which it is not equipped to do.

Junior medical officers from other departments have also been seconded to the Emergency Department, even though they were not trained for emergency services, it is learnt.

“HTAR has always been very busy and it is common to see dozens of people waiting for beds in the emergency ward.

“But in the past two weeks or so, the situation has been very severe with more than 100 people waiting.

“They are just swamped,” a source told Malaysiakini on condition of anonymity as healthcare workers in public service are not allowed to speak to media without prior consent from their superiors.

Malaysiakini has contacted Selangor Health director Dr Shariman Ngadiman for comment.

Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL), Emergency Department personnel have been forced to perform life-saving procedures on the floor.

No beds are available, not even canvas beds, healthcare workers said.

“People are dying every day. It is really too depressing to see and decide who needs to go first.

“No one will ever understand what we’re going through here. People come asking for help to save their family members when we ourselves are already helpless.

“We can only do our best, but unfortunately ‘our best’ will never be enough,” one healthcare worker shared on social media.

Like in HTAR, the Covid-19 wards at HKL are full, with extra beds opened up in any available space, hospital sources told Malaysiakini.

“If you come to the ward, you will see that our ward is not like the normal wards in a hospital. There is no space between beds any more,” one source said.

The healthcare worker said the situation has also affected non-Covid-19 care, as more beds are allocated to Covid-19 patients.

“Where can the non-Covid-19 patients go? We are a public hospital. If we reject patients where will they go?” another hospital source asked.

Malaysiakini has contacted HKL director Dr Heric Corray for comment.

Several sources from the Health Ministry told Malaysiakini, just about all of Klang Valley public hospitals, except for the Putrajaya Hospital, are in the same boat.

Healthcare workers who spoke to Malaysiakini said the congestion is linked to years of underfunding of public health services.

They said Klang Valley hospitals can only survive if Covid-19 cases go down within the next two weeks.

“The only way the public can help us is to avoid getting infected, stay home as much as possible and get vaccinated when they can,” one healthcare worker said.

When contacted, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said a unified command centre for hospitals is working on meeting the demands in the Klang Valley.

“A unified command centre in hospitals led by the Selangor Health Department director is working to ensure intensive care needs in the Klang Valley are met. It is also working to accommodate all the stated cases,” he added.

Most of Selangor and some localities in Kuala Lumpur will go under the enhanced movement control order (MCO) starting tomorrow, given the unabating Covid-19 cases in the Klang Valley.

In previous enhanced MCO areas, residents were not allowed to leave their housing area while essential supplies were delivered to them.

In contrast, those under the enhanced MCO in the Klang Valley are still allowed to leave their housing areas and travel within a 10km radius.

Those working in essential services and industries can still go to work. – Malaysiakini