Hospital beds placed in every available space in Kajang Hospital because of a spike in dengue and asthma cases. Pic by Aizuddin Saad
KUALA LUMPUR: The increase in the number of dengue cases in Selangor has caused congestion at government hospitals in the state, with some patients having to wait for more than 10 hours to get admitted for treatment.
A state Health Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, admitted that almost all public hospitals in the state were overcrowded with patients seek ing t reat ment for deng ue fever.
“This is because Selangor tops the list of the highest number of dengue cases reported in the country,” the official said.
He said another contributing factor was that most patients could not afford the high treatment cost at private hospitals.
“Not everyone can afford private healthcare services and that’s why many seek medical attention at government hospitals, which causes the congestion,” he said, adding that the hospitals were doing their best to manage the cases.
He also admitted that because of the congestion, some patients had to wait for their turn to be admitted.
However, the official refuted claims that patients were denied admission because government hospitals were not allowed to do so.
"Cases where patients were denied admission often occur at private hospitals because the management refuses to provide extra beds to accommodate the high numbers of patients."
As of Dec 14, 39,222 dengue cases were reported in the country with 83 deaths compared with 20,923 cases and 35 deaths in the same period last year.
This year, Selangor continued to top the list with 21,138 cases and 22 deaths reported so far.
The Health Ministry has identified 89 hotspots in five districts in Selangor, namely Petaling, Hulu Langat, Hulu Selangor, Sepang and Gombak.
Health deputy director-general (medical) Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai, when contacted, confirmed that there had been a sudden increase in the number of patients needing admission at various government hospitals in the Klang Valley.
He dismissed claims that patients were denied admission but there were cases where patients were redirected to other hospitals due to congestion.
The New Straits Times, in a visit to Kajang Hospital yesterday, found that extra beds were placed in every available space to accommodate the number of patients.
A patient, Kamarul Bahrin, said he had to wait for 10 hours to get admitted for dengue fever.
"When I was admitted, I was placed next to a sink," said the 27-year-old graphic designer, who was admitted two days ago.
He said apart from him, there were more than 10 dengue cases that day and he overheard doctors saying that they had insufficient beds for them.
Another patient, Arvind Kumar, said he had to wait more than 10 hours to get warded.
"There was no bed available, so I had to sit on a chair until a patient was discharged," said the 17-year-old student who was placed in the middle of the ward's walkway.
Kajang Hospital director Dr Kuldip Kaur Prem Singh said congestion at the hospital was a seasonal issue and they were maximising its resources to handle the patients.
"The rainy season had lead to not only a spike in dengue cases, but also other cases, such as asthma."
Dr Kuldip said if there was an urgent need, a patient would be transferred to other hospitals in the state upon agreement with the patient.
"Specialists from our hospital would discuss with specialists from other hospitals and a transfer will only happen if a patient agrees."
However, she said, some patients refused to seek medical help at other hospitals due to logistic issues and because of this, they would have to ask the patient to wait until another patient was discharged.
"We have routine rounds where we monitor the patients' condition and those who had been stabilised would be discharged."