Saturday, August 15

Baru raises alarm over declining rural medical care

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THE standard of medical care in the rural areas is dropping and some patients fear they are becoming human guinea pigs for inadequately trained doctors and medical officers.

Baru Bian (PKR-Ba’ Kelalan) when debating on the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri (TYT) speech during the DUN sitting yesterday said there had been cases of negligence by medical care providers in the state particularly in the rural areas.

He informed the august House that in Lawas he had handled two lawsuits arising from medical negligence.

“One involved the death of a mother in the process of delivering her child. Such cases should not happen in this day and age, but it did happen in Lawas. In the second case, a needle was left in the stomach of an expectant mother, who had to undergo emergency surgery to remove it.

“Recently, I received reports that the medical officers going to Long Semadoh and Ba’ Kelalan on their routine visits could not even perform simple tooth extractions and left fragments of
teeth in the patient’s mouths. A dentist in private practice subsequently volunteered to go and finish the extractions for these patients,” he disclosed.

He also revealed that there was another case recently where a doctor botched up the caesarian section on a woman, resulting in her suffering permanent injury and disability.

“The dropping standard of medical care is of great concern to us all. Why is this happening? The people of my area have been telling me that they do not want to be used as human guinea pigs for inadequately trained doctors and medical officers,” he asserted.

Baru said the rural population no doubt needed the medical visits to continue and they encouraged such visits but hoped that those sent to provide the medical service to them are properly qualified to treat them, and not to harm them.

“Those who have suffered from the negligence and incompetence of medical officers are hit harder than city folks because they have to travel to towns for restorative treatment.

“Many suffered physically from lack of proper care. These patients and their families are often not aware of their rights and are left to live with their injuries or loss as best they can,” he lamented.

Nonetheless, he said, there were many committed medical personnel in rural clinics who had been servicing the rural population for many years and they deserved the credit.

“They have persevered despite the many challenges of rural medical practice, and we salute them for their dedicated service. We need to make sure those that are employed for such duties get the best training and are up to the tasks at hand,” he said.