Woman writes about worker's 'improper' treatment, KTPH says they followed protocol
Woman's Facebook post complaining about his 'improper' treatment at hospital goes viral
When she was in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital's Acute and Emergency (A&E) Care Centre recently with her mother, Miss Nurul Narina Abdul Hakim Amir saw a foreign worker with a bleeding hand wrapped in a blood-soaked handkerchief.
In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Miss Narina, 20, who was upset by what she thought was improper treatment of the man, made several claims about what happened at the A&E that night.
Among her claims: The man was not helped immediately, that he was bleeding while waiting and that his drip was bloody twice. She also claimed his employer had been there for just a short time.
Feeling sorry for the man, Miss Narina, who recently graduated from the Cosmoprof Academy, kept her eye on him from 8.15pm till her own mother was called in around 9pm, and again at about 11.40pm, when they met at the payment counter.
A spokesman for the hospital, responding to The New Paper's queries, has clarified that it followed protocol and that Miss Narina did not see the interventions of their staff, including a senior consultant who attended to the man 42 minutes after he stepped into the A&E.
Said Miss Narina: "My mother had stomach flu. My brother, sister and I had brought her to the A&E. He (the man) came in... about 15 to 20 minutes later.
"The injured man was walking up and down from the registration counter to the toilet. I guess it was painful and he probably didn't know how to stop the bleeding. Everyone saw him but no one helped, not even the doctors and nurses at the A&E."
But the KTPH spokesman said that a nurse attended to the man as soon as he arrived.
This was verified by our reporter who viewed the KTPH CCTV footage.
The spokesman said the wound had stopped bleeding by then.
Miss Narina said it was only after her brother intervened that a nurse attended to the worker, "re-wrapping his hand to stem the bleeding".
This was refuted by the hospital, which said that he was assessed at triage and examined by a senior doctor.
Miss Narina also said that his employer "only appeared twice, but for short intervals".
This was refuted by his employer, who had accompanied him to the hospital.
Even after the man's hand was stitched and bandaged, no one checked on the drip that was administered, claimed Miss Narina.
"There was blood inside the tube and my sister went to inform the nurses twice," she said.
When told yesterday about the CCTV footage that appeared to contradict some of her claims, Miss Narina said she stood by her story.
"I shared because I wanted Singaporeans to treat foreign workers with respect and not take them for granted. They helped us build our homes, roads and rails," she said.
Timeline of incident according to hospital CCTV
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital allowed The New Paper to review the CCTV footage of the incident at the hospital's Acute and Emergency (A&E) Care Centre to show what happened. Here's what we saw: 8.14pm: The patient walks into the A&E at KTPH. Nurses immediately check his hand to make sure there is no active bleeding.
8.15pm: The patient's colleagues, who accompany him, register him.
8.27pm: Assistant manager Ko Ko Ye Chit walks in. He went to park his car after dropping the patient off. The four men linger at the waiting area.
8.47pm: The patient is assessed at triage, which is the process of examining problems in order to decide which ones are the most serious and must be dealt with first. Mr Ko Ko leaves to buy food and drinks for the three men.
8.56pm: Associate Professor Eillyne Seow examines the patient.
9.15pm: An X-ray is done on his hand. 10.38pm: Mr Ko Ko sits with the patient.
10.52pm: Medication is administered intravenously.
11.52pm: Miss Nurul Narina Abdul Hakim Amir's sister informs the nurse about the blood in the tube. The nurse goes immediately to help the patient.
11.57pm: Miss Narina's sister again informs the nurse about blood in the drip and this time, a male nurse goes immediately to help.
A&E priority levels
Patients at Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments at the public hospitals are prioritised based on the severity of their medical conditions.
There are four priority levels:
P1: Critically ill and in need of resuscitation or immediate medical attention. These cases include multiple major injuries, head injury with loss of consciousness, severe shortness of breath, severe chest pain and unconsciousness from any cause.
P2: Major emergencies, where patients are unable to walk and are in various forms of distress. Although patients appear stable during the initial examination and are not in danger of imminent collapse, the severity of their symptoms needs early attention, failing which their medical status may deteriorate. These include limb fractures and joint dislocation, persistent vomiting, severe back pain and renal colic (pain caused by kidney stones).
P3: Minor emergencies, where patients are able to walk, have mild to moderate symptoms and need early treatment. Examples are sprains, mild constant abdominal pain, fever with cough for several days, insect stings or animal bites, superficial injuries with or without mild bleeding, minor head injuries (patient is alert and not vomiting), foreign bodies in ear, nose or throat, urinary tract infections, and headaches.
P4: Non-emergency cases such as coughs and colds.
- Source: Ministry of Health
KTPH: WE FOLLOWED MEDICAL PROTOCOLS
Responding to queries from The New Paper, a spokesman for the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) said the patient in question had arrived at 8.14pm on Thursday with a hand injury he sustained at 5pm.
"He was sawing a pipe but the blade came off and cut his finger badly," she said.
"He was brought to a GP (general practitioner), who dressed his wound and stopped the bleeding. When he arrived, his wound had stopped bleeding."
She added that a nurse at the Acute and Emergency (A&E) Care Centre cleaned and dressed his wound.
He was seen by another nurse at triage to assess the degree of urgency of his wound and decide the order of treatment about half an hour later.
He was classified as a Priority Level 3 patient (P3) - someone with a minor emergency.
The spokesman said the patient was seen by Associate Professor Eillyne Seow, a senior consultant, nine minutes after the triage.
There were 55 to 58 patients waiting at the A&E between 8 and 10pm on Thursday.
The spokesman said at the A&E, patients are prioritised and attended to based on the severity of their condition.
"KTPH has put in place protocols to ensure care is not compromised despite high demand for emergency department services," she said.
"All life-threatening (P1) cases are attended to immediately."
Chief executive officer of KTPH, Mrs Chew Kwee Tiang said: "It's disappointing that this woman took a photograph of the patient without his knowledge or permission and posted it on social media.
"The hospital does not encourage photo-taking of patients on our premises as it would be an invasion of privacy."
Mr Ko Ko Ye Chit, 43, an assistant manager at the construction company where the patient works, told TNP that after dropping the injured worker and two other workers off at the A&E, he went to park his car.
He also explained why he was not at the waiting area the whole time.
“I noticed that it was past 8pm and none of the men had taken their dinner,” he said.
“I went to buy drinks and bread for them”.
Mr Ko Ko said he stayed till 11pm before going off as he had an early start the next morning.
“The other two men were left behind to keep him company,” he said.