It is unfortunate that so soon after I wrote the piece advocating a pay hike for civil servants that the following news came to my attention.

Summary: Zara Davies Abdul Rahman, a businesswoman and a mother of five chanced upon an accident last Wednesday (13th December 2006). A driver had hit a young highway road sweeper, later identified as Mohd. Yusry along the Elite highway. She stopped to help, and found that Mohd. Yusry was ’still alive but heavily concussed’. No one had called for ambulance, so she told the driver to do so.

After an ugly-go-round with the telephone operator, and more than an hour after the accident occurred, the driver finally allowed his car to be used to send Mohd. Yusry to the hospital. Another Samaritan drove his car (as the driver was too shook up to drive) and they followed Zara’s vehicle to the Klang hospital.

Unfortunately Mohd. Yusry died in the car on the way to the hospital.

Excerpts from Zara’s letter:

At 1.57pm I received a call from the phone number 03 3371 7989 – the ambulance control centre at the Klang Hospital. The guy in charge of the control centre asked to speak to me and asked for the location of the accident which I gave, adding that the victim was dying and that this was an extreme emergency.

The guy manning the control centre did not know my location, so I repeated it clearly and concisely. It seemed that he needed to understand it for himself otherwise he could not pass on the information and dispatch the ambulance. It was a frustrating conversation. I repeated the details of my location and he asked me if I was sure that Klang was the nearest hospital. I repeated firmly, yes.

I told him the injuries of the victim, hoping he would feel the urgency. Instead he wanted to know whether ‘dia jatuh motor ke…?’ I told him politely that his question was completely irrelevant and to hurry up with the ambulance. I had to hang up and attend to the victim. I called back at 2.06pm to ask if an ambulance had been dispatched. The same guy told me ‘belum’. He asked me the same questions. I answered them.

On the Federal Highway despite our attempts to notify motorists that we were in a state of emergency, many blocked our path and only relented to give way when I practically sat on my car horn.

I was so angry, my words were simple, ‘Kecuaian pihak hospital menghantar ambulans membantu mangsa ini telah mengecewakan rakyat’. (The negligence of the hospital in not sending an ambulance to help the victim has let the public down).

You can read the fully-published letter written by Zara recounting her experience here, or here.

It’s not a pretty letter, but it is what it is: we Malaysians are not a pretty nation.

It has been less than 3 months after NST highlighted the problem of ambulance crisis in our country. Other than the promise of 800 new ambulances, there doesn’t seem to be much follow-up to the story. Besides, a promise remains a promise — Rapid KL promised 100 accessible buses in 30 days, erm… sorry to point this out, but that was on the 26th September, today is the 18th December, you do the math.

Talk is cheap, unfortunately in situations such as this, it comes at a very heavy and tragic price.

Worse of all, it is reported that Zara ‘has received an intimidating call from the Klang Hospital authorities’ after the case was highlighted by DAP opposition leader Lim Kit Siang (link).

Now more than ever, we need to seriously monitor the quality of work of those in the public sector and SERIOUSLY enforce disciplinary actions against those who are deliberately negligent. We need a thorough review of the hospitals and other such service providers’ systems. We have been depending and literally putting our lives in the hands of these people, and if it’s you, dude, you wouldn’t want to be in Mohd. Yusry’s place.

And WHAT THE *@&#^% is with the people who drive slowly past an accident site to get the numbers of the wrecked cars?!?! Do you know that you are DIRECTLY contributing to a traffic jam, hence delaying help to the victims?!? Dahlah the road systems in Malaysia is not efficient, it gets WORSE when the greed and selfishness of people take over. Next time if you encounter an accident, feel free to stop and try to help. But if you are going to just gawk and jot down numbers, allow this blogger who is a Buddhist to remind you that it is disastrous karma to make money off the unfortunate.

Please do not brush it away as ‘not my problem’. Imagine it’s YOU or YOUR LOVED ONE involved in the car accident — life is full of the unexpected so never say never.

But yes, Datuk Chua Soi Lek, it is mostly your call now.

Posted in: Issues

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