Patients shifted after doctor’s desperate plea

2:42AM Dec 26, 2014

Critical patients treated in pitch black after Kuala Krai hospital ran out fuel to power generators last night were finally evacuated from the flood-hit area.

Doctors posted desperate pleas for help after forced to intubate an infant in darkness and tearfully watching rescue helicopters leave after failing to land.

“Latest update. Alhamdulillah, helicopter assistance has arrived to take the victims in hospitals especially babies to shelter,” Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham said in a Facebook posting at 10.20pm Thursday.

The army evacuated adult and paediatric patients to Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM), which is about 20 minutes away via helicopter, he said, while diesel supply was replenished.

“All settled diesel delivered, generator filled, functioning and power supply back to normal. Supplies delivered and Hospital Kuala Krai is in safe zone (as it is on) high ground.

“One adult critically-ill patient and two neonates were transferred successfully to HUSM and live another day. (Rescue workers) to continue patient evacuation tomorrow,” he said.

In a video shared by Noor Hisham, Hospital Kuala Krai staff said patients are hungry and thirsty as there is shortage of drinking water.

“We hope help will arrive soon…Our focus is to save lives, the rest we leave to God,” the staff member said.

Call for help with evacuation was also made by Hospital Kota Bharu, with the capital city paralysed after the Sungai Kelantan broke its banks yesterday.

“Hospital Kota Bharu needs four wheel drive vehicles to help move patients and vital equipment from Hospital Kota Bharu to HUSM on an urgent basis.

“Those with four wheel drive vehicles are urged to contact me urgently,” a message posted by the administrator of PAS vice president Husam Musa’s official Facebook page reads.

Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II is filling up with flood water, pictures shared by Noor Hisham Thursday afternoon showed.

All hospitals in unaffected states are ordered to prepare for evacuated patients, with priority given to the ventilated and critically-ill.

“We expect severe damage to Health Ministry assets like hospitals, clinics and rural clinics. Repairs will cost a lot of money and time.

“We thank the Health Ministry team for their dedication and sacrifice in performing their duties wherever they may be.”

Shame on you, Malaysia

Dr Noor Hisham also shared Hospital Kuala Krai’s Dr Adibah Abdullah’s harrowing account of counting down hours left of battery supply on patients’ ventilators.

“We had to intubate a baby in the dark…Intensive Care Unit and Critical Care Unit patients are breathing on battery-powered battery supply.

“If power is not restored, we will take turns to manually pump air, but for how long?” she wrote.

Patients and staff prepared to evacuate twice and tearfully signalled rescue helicopters in the afternoon, she said, only to have hopes dashed because the choppers could not land safely.

“They said the roofs would detach if the helicopter came closer. The only way to rescue patients is by hoisting them up, airlift them – like in the movies, from the boats, or from a clearing very near the water edge.

“We’re talking about ill patients here, those breathing through machines, newborn babies, old people with broken bones.

“They left. They departed and left us wondering. We were clueless,” she wrote.

The only help that managed to reach the hospital at the time was an army doctor, she said.

“I don’t know what to do. I heard that this morning television news showed a wedding held in the floods.

“Shame on you, Malaysia. Shame on you. We are waiting.”

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