The elderly patient who was caught on video struggling on the floor of a ward at the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital in Sungai Petani, Kedah was attended to within five minutes after getting into distress, the state health department director said.
Dr Othman Warijo said the deceased was a category 4 (requiring oxygen assistance) patient who, however, was uncomfortable with the oxygen aid device.
“The patient was monitored more frequently by health workers who communicated with him in his own language,” Othman said in a statement.
The patient was admitted to the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital on August 26 after being referred by the Covid-19 Assessment Centre in Kuala Muda.
A 38-second video was widely circulated on WhatsApp yesterday, which showed a weak-looking patient on his knees on the floor of the ward trying to pull himself up by holding on to a bed.
The clip was cut short and continued with footage showing the patient lying motionless on the floor with a urine bag still beside him while another patient tried to approach and examine him.
The individual who uploaded the video alleged the patient was left unattended by ward staff until he was confirmed dead 40 minutes later.
Othman said on the day of the incident, medical officers and nurses had removed their personal protective equipment (PPE) around 1.45pm after their morning rounds in the ward.
He said at about 2.25pm the ward staff was informed by other patients that a patient had fallen out of bed.
“The medical officer on duty rushed to put on the PPE, which took five minutes, before examining the patient who was lying on the floor.”
Othman said the patient had no signs of life, was placed on a bed and pronounced dead.
“The cause of death was severe Covid-19 pneumonia,” he said.
The director added that the deceased had a history of several chronic diseases and that his family members were informed of the situation on the same afternoon.
“The family members had understood the patient’s deteriorating condition and accepted the explanation given by the hospital,” he said.
“The department extends its condolences to the family of the deceased and regrets the circulation of the video.”
He added that the department will conduct an in-depth investigation into the incident and take necessary remedial action. – TMI