SIBU (April 20): Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang has claimed that eight out of 10 units of ventilators given to Sarawak on April 13 are not in working and functioning order.
In a media statement, she demanded the federal government and Ministry of Health explain to the people of Sarawak the serious threat to the lives of patients who may need to use the ventilators.
“The federal Ministry of Health (MoH) thus needs to clarify if such an act is a reflection of how the federal government has perceived the healthcare of Sarawakians as of less importance so much so that they have the audacity to send these obsolete machines to the state in critical times like now,” she said.
She also questioned how the state could allow the people of Sarawak to be treated with such disdain without even a whimper of protest.
“By such acts, the Sarawak state government should no longer wait to insist in taking back the state’s autonomy of health and education. The state government should not allow the health and welfare of our Sarawakians to be trifled with and be insulted in this way,” she stated.
On the 10 ventilators, she said five were given to Sibu Hospital, three to Bintulu Hospital, and two to Sarikei Hospital.
According to her, the units sent to Sibu and Bintulu hospitals were totally non-functioning and had to be sent for repairs.
“For the two units sent to Sarikei Hospital, even though they are functioning, they need to be constantly rebooted as the screen keeps jamming up after a short time of usage.
“This is a serious threat to the life of any patient who needs to use any of these ventilators,” she stressed.
Chang claimed the ventilators were 2004 models that did not have any built-in air compressor.
“Therefore to be able to use them would depend on whether the hospital wards have the wall compressors which they need to be connected to,” she explained.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) lawmaker said it was no secret that Sarawak’s hospitals, other than in Kuching, lacked ventilators to deal with the high number of Covid-19 patients as well as other Intensive Care Unit patients.
Chang said the hospitals had been asking for more of these machines for years and said it was “appalling that when they came, they turned out to be obsolete non-functioning machines”.
She accused the federal Ministry of Health of not even having the courtesy to ensure that the machines outdated machines were at least in good working order.
“The ventilators are much needed in our Covid-19 stricken state at this moment. It may be a matter of life and death for our patients, especially if our doctors may be forced to choose which life to save by giving one of the patients the available unit while sacrificing others,” she added.
--Source: Borneo Post