(Zaedi Zolkafli is the founder of FelixEntertainmentDotCom and The P Ramlee Cyber Museum)
21 October 2015
Family Claimed Hospital Pusrawi Practices Medical Discrimination Against Poor Masjid Employee
Doctor gets only six month suspension by MMC for causing loss of life.
By Zaedi Zolkafli
A very cruel tragedy
My brother-in-law Haji Mohd. Haromain bin Ghazali (Patient) was an employee of Masjid Saidina Abu Bakar As-Siddiq in Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. He first sought treatment for loss of appetite and weight at Hospital Pusrawi aka Pusat Rawatan Islam at Jalan Tun Razak on 14.10.2006 during the month of Ramadhan.
In one week from 14.10.2006 to 19.10.2006, the sick person had to commute four times to Hospital Pusrawi as outpatient. On all occasions the hospital specialist Dr. Abdul Malik bin Jamal Buhari refused to give any prescription and necessary treatment despite worsening condition. Patient was already suffering from severe dehydration caused by acute diarrhea after “further dose of bowel cleansing solution and enema” during colonoscopy on 17.10.2006. But the callous doctor had no intention to ward his patient under emergency circumstances. Instead, Patient was instructed to go home and come back on 31.10.2006 because of long Deeparaya festival.
As Patient now critical, the family requested to see Dr. Abdul Malik again on 19.10.2006 and insisted on some medicine for safety measure before next appointment in 12 days’ time. Doctor finally agreed to give temporary relief on condition that Patient gives another (third) Letter of Guarantee that same day. Even though two guarantee letters already produced a day before on 18.10.2006 and 14.10.2006. Alternatively, Patient was given an ultimatum to pay about RM200.00 for the medicine or get nothing.
During last appointment, Dr. Abdul Malik was not willing to take any action until he could review the HPE report after he returned from holiday. He even lied knowing the fact that the HPE report prepared by Dr. Nik Azizah Bt. Wan Kadir from Pantai Premier Pathology was readied on 19.10.2006, the day of the appointment. HPE report later showed that patient had extensive inflammation of colon "but no malignancy". Patient could have survived under normal case.
Patient did not make to hospital on 31.10.2006. He died at home less than 48 hours after he last saw doctor. Contributory circumstance was dehydration after colonoscopy procedure by Dr. Abdul Malik. Not only was doctor negligent, he failed to give basic preventive measure such like diarrhea prescription, oral rehydration salt, etc. It worsened the Patient’s condition who already suffering from loss of appetite and weight.
On the final night, Patient drained stamina and had to crawl as he frequented the toilet. Before he passed away, the brain already wearied thereby he lost vision. These are explicit symptoms warned by the manufacturer of Buscopan but Dr. Abdul Malik grossly ignored when he prescribed wrong medication for Patient.
In every aspect, Patient was denied his rights to proper medical treatment at so-called “Pusat Rawatan Islam”. Evidence also showed that Dr. Abdul Malik improperly described Haji Mohd. Haromain whose actual occupation was ‘siak’ (supervisor) as “cleaner at Masjid Bangsar” in the patient’s case notes. To sum up his prejudice, doctor had no respect nor compassion for a poor human. A showcase of medical discrimination resulting in loss of life.
Haji Mohd. Haromain passed away at 11.30 a.m. on 21.10.2006. He was 47 years old. He left behind a wife Norhayati Zolkafli (45) who was unemployed, twin girls (less than two years old), an autism daughter (6), eldest daughter (8) and old mother in kampung. He died just two days before Hari Raya. The Pusat Rawatan Islam only offered advice for his family to accept case as “Takdir Allah”.
Dr. Abdul Malik displayed not a slightest remorse for Patient’s unfortunate death. On first day he returned to work after a long Deeparaya holiday, Hospital Pusrawi issued medical bill to Masjid Saidina Abu Bakar As-Siddiq. Ironically, the bulk of hospital cost of RM 2,415.50 was for useless medical examination because doctor held back the HPE report until patient already dead! Hospital Pusrawi also released medical report by Dr. Abdul Malik dated 23.12.2006 that did not give accurate assessment about Patient’s condition in order to mislead the family not to take further action.
This writer, who is also Patient’s brother-in-law, subsequently lodged a formal complaint with the Malaysian Medical Council. The case was investigated under Regulation 27(b) of Medical Regulations 1974 for allegation that doctor “has been guilty of infamous conduct in any professional respect” pursuant to Section 29 of Medical Act 1971 namely, “Neglect or disregard of professional responsibilities”.
Findings of the Malaysian Medical Council
The complaint was brought to the Preliminary Investigation Committee (PIC) under Chairmanship of Datuk Dr. Megat Burhainuddin Bin Megat Abdul Rahman with five other Committee members. The PIC, set up pursuant to disciplinary jurisdiction of the Medical Act, conducted five hearings on 20.7.2007, 7.12.2007, 15.2.2008, 20.6.2008 and 15.5.2009. Dr. Abdul Malik was represented by Messrs. Puthucheary, Firoz & Mai. During the 3 ½ year proceedings, the Complainant argued his case with legal basis and medical evidence findings from web resources because they can’t afford anybody.
When finally the PIC closed its lengthy inquiry on 15.5.2009, the members unanimously recommended that Dr. Abdul Malik be charged for infamous conduct as follows:
Charge 1: That you, Dr. Abdul Malik Bin Jamal Buhari, had neglected and disregarded your professional responsibilities in that you had failed to provide and maintain a good standard of medical care for the Patient as required under part 1.1(a) of the Code of Professional Conduct by failing to conscientiously assess the history, symptoms and signs of the Patient’s condition, after four (4) visits to your clinic.
Charge 2: That you, Dr. Abdul Malik Bin Jamal Buhari, had neglected and disregarded your professional responsibilities in that you had failed to provide and maintain a good standard of medical care for the Patient as required under part 1.1(d) of the Code of Professional Conduct by failing to take appropriate and prompt action upon evidence suggesting the existence of a condition requiring urgent medical intervention.
The case was then scheduled for an inquiry by the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) on 8.3.2010 chaired by Dato’ Dr. Abu Hassan Assari Abdullah with nine other Council members. The Council found Dr. Abdul Malik guilty on both charges of infamous conduct under Section 29(2)(b) of Medical Act.
At the close of inquiry, the Chairman’s summation: “We have actually analyzed this situation, where in that resulting from this professional misconduct and the family had suffered enormously and we can’t even translate that into any words. Unfortunately, the judgement has been made that you have not discharged your professionalism, intentionally or not, still the result is someone had died...”
Consequentially, by virtue of the power vested on the MMC in respect of disciplinary punishment under Section 30 of Medical Act, the Council had decided to impose the following punishment:
“To order the name of Dr. Abdul Malik Bin Jamal Buhari (NRIC No. 700506-71-5327), (APC No. 7434/2010), (Full Registration No. 34172 dated 1/08/1998) be suspended from the Register under Section 30(ii) of the Medical Act 1971 for a period of SIX (6) months and to direct the Registrar accordingly.”
Notice of suspension dated 18.3.2010 was signed by President of MMC, Tan Sri Dr. Mohd. Ismail Merican with effect one month from the service of notice. The Council also ordered Dr. Abdul Malik to surrender his current Annual Practicing Certificate and Certificate of Full Registration to the Registrar.
Doctor’s appeal to High Court
At some time before the effective date, Dr. Abdul Malik terminated his lawyer and appointed Messrs. Affendi Zahari to appeal against Order of the Council under Section 31 of Medical Act. The High Court hearing was fixed for 15.7.2010.
In retrospect, the High Court appeal was a futile attempt, frivolous and an abuse of Court process. Dr. Abdul Malik was well aware that he had no material grounds whatsoever to win the case. The sole objective was to delay the six months suspension order for economic reasons.
In his plea in mitigation during the Council inquiry, Dr. Abdul Malik voluntarily stated “I am very sorry, very sorry for what happened. I should have done better”. The doctor had admitted no less than three times that “It was my mistake”, “That was my mistake. I admit”, and “I did not admit the patient earlier”. These are based on the Record of Proceedings. The Council also noted “a lot of conflicting and contradictory statement” in his medical report, statutory declaration and of his witness.
The High Court appeal concluded after two years. Subsequently, the Council issued notice under Regulation 31 of Medical Regulations 1974 pursuant to Section 29 of Medical Act confirming in receipt of Dr. Abdul Malik’s full registration certificate and ordered his suspension for a period of six months commencing on 1.9.2012. The malevolent doctor gets away with light punishment for causing loss of life. (Note: Punishment for issuing false medical certificates is suspension for a period of one year.)
This landmark case under Medical Act encompassing two separate inquiries and the High Court appeal took more than five years to complete. Surpassing the time-barred for civil suit (according to many witless lawyers). Lingering delays at first stage of inquiry because of four postponements and another two years during appeal. Justice was done or so it seems. One senior lawyer has this uncanny advice for this writer, “It is cheaper to kill a person under Malaysia’s Civil Law Act!” Especially, if the victim is poor.
Penyelia Masjid Mati Akibat Diskriminasi Oleh Doktor Pakar Di Pusat Rawatan Islam
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