Family seeks answers after father admitted for operation dies from Covid

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The family of a researcher has issued a letter of demand to a public hospital, seeking clarity from the management why the father, who was admitted for a tumour removal operation, ended up dying from Covid-19.

The family’s lawyer Wan Azmir Wan Majid claimed that Mohd Rum Anuar, a 70-year-old researcher with the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) tested negative for Covid-19 upon admission to the hospital on May 5.

He claimed that Rum became infected with Covid-19 on June 14, five days after he was placed in a room at the rehabilitation ward together with a female patient who had a cough for five days.

“Rum was in Category 4 of Covid-19 and he needed the support of medical oxygen. He passed away on June 21,” he told a virtual press conference today.

Wan Azmir said five of Rum’s family members, including three sons who took care of him in the hospital, also became infected.

Prior to this, the sons had alerted the hospital of the symptom shown by the female patient who shared the same room with their father.

“She showed serious cough symptoms, but she wasn’t wearing any mask and the kin worried if their father would be infected. The female patient was not being segregated in another room,” he said.

“The matter was made known by the sons to the hospital, however, no immediate action was taken,” added Wan Azmir.

The lawyer said his client previously gave the hospital 14 days to provide a full investigation report, medical report, as well as the standard operating procedure (SOP) related to the management of the intensive care unit (ICU).

“Today is the last day (of the deadline) and we have yet to receive any response from the hospital.

“If there is no reply from the hospital next week, maybe I will get instruction from my client to either get a discovery application or to pursue a lawsuit,” he said.

Also present at the virtual press conference was the daughter of the deceased, Siti Syakirah Mohd Rum.

Siti said her father, during his 40 days stay in the hospital, was never infected with Covid-19 until he was transferred to the rehabilitation ward on June 9.

“Three of my brothers who had taken turns to take care of their father between May 20 and June 13 were tested positive for Covid.

“My mother, who stayed with one of my brothers, was infected too and she was treated in hospital for 10 days. One of my sister-in-laws also tested positive for Covid-19,” added Siti.

Malaysiakini has written to the Health Ministry for comment.

Meanwhile, law firm Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak which represented Rum’s family, said in a statement that issues related to Covid-19 must be handled swiftly as it involves individuals who are at high risk of being infected with this deadly virus.

“Almost all the family members of Rum tested positive for Covid-19,” said the law firm.

“However, the family members appreciated and praised the efforts of the frontliners who worked hard to treat Rum throughout his stay at the hospital,” said the law firm, adding that the family members accepted his demise. – Malaysiakini