LAWAS: Kota Kinabalu Hospital still accepts emergency and referral cases from Lawas, unlike what Lawas folk perceived.
Assistant Minister for Public Health Datuk Dr Jerip Susil clarified that patients from Lawas were still being sent to Kota Kinabalu Hospital on a case-by-case basis, but referrals from Miri Hospital was needed.
“If it is an ICU (intensive care unit) case, and after consulting Miri Hospital, the case may be sent to Kota Kinabalu Hospital because it is easier to go there then to go to Miri,” Dr Jerip told BAT6 when contacted yesterday.
He said Lawas patients might also be sent to Kota Kinabalu if Miri Hospital lacked the needed specialist consultation.
“In cases where there are no specialists in Miri but Kota Kinabalu Hospital have them, then Miri Hospital might refer the Lawas patients to Kota Kinabalu Hospital,” he said when asked to comment on complaints aired by Lawas’ Penghulu Liaw Chow Tien that Kota Kinabalu Hospital had stopped accepting patients from Lawas.
On why there were incidences of patients being turned away from Kota Kinabalu Hospital, as mentioned by Liaw, Dr Jerip said it could be because the hospital was already overcrowded then.
However, he reassured that as long as there was referral letters from Miri Hospital, Kota Kinabalu Hospital usually would not reject these patients.
For Lawas folk to get to Kota Kinabalu entailed about a three-hour drive. For them to drive to Miri from Lawas would mean a five-hour journey, excluding time to pass through two immigration checkpoints with fixed operating hours.
It is thus more convenient for Lawas residents to seek treatment at Kota Kinabalu Hospital, but Liaw claimed that hospital stopped admitting patients from Lawas three years ago.
“I know of several cases, including accidents and heart attack cases, where patients died because they reached Miri Hospital late,” said Liaw.
“Before that (three years ago), Kota Kinabalu Hospital accept patients from Lawas, and ambulances could reach there in only two-and-a-half hours. We hope this kind of medical services continue to be available for us.”
Liaw also raised the problem of the lack of parking space in Lawas.
Then there is the postal headache. Mails are snail paced in Lawas, where even stuff sent by Pos Laju meant a four to five-day wait.