KUCHING: Sabah state health director Dr Christina Rundi has clarified that Kota Kinabalu Hospital (KKH) still accept patients from Lawas and Limbang.
She explained that the government hospital does not refuse emergency cases and in principle, patients from Lawas and Limbang can continue to be sent to KKH for treatment.
“However, if an emergency case is to be referred to any hospital, the referring hospital must discuss with the referral hospital. There may be a time when hospital bed is not available and therefore referral may be deferred or the referring hospital will be asked to send the patient to another hospital,” said Dr Christina.
She said for patients to be sent from Lawas and Limbang to KKH, it was crucial that the referring hospital check with KKH to make sure there were beds for the patients.
“What is the point of sending the patients over, spending long hours on the road, only to find that we don’t have beds for them?”
She said the reason KKH refuse a referral could be due to the lack of beds hence the hospital would not be able to accommodate the patients.
“There is no such thing as we refuse to accept patients from Lawas or Limbang,” Dr Christina told thesundaypost in a telephone interview yesterday.
Dr Christina was responding to Lawas Penghulu Liaw Chow Tien telling BAT6 on June 29 that Kota Kinabalu Hospital had stopped admitting patients from Lawas since three years ago.
According to Liaw, patients in Lawas preferred to be sent to KKH because it took only two hours for them to reach the hospital.
For them to travel to Miri, it takes about five hours where they have to go through two immigration checkpoints which operate only certain hours.
Once the checkpoints are closed after midnight, the situation could be critical for emergency and critical cases because Lawas Hospital has no specialists to handle such cases.
It is thus more convenient for patients from Lawas and even Limbang (which is 45 minutes from Lawas) to seek treatment at Kota Kinabalu Hospital than in Miri Hospital.
He further claimed that there were already a few cases including accident and heart attack cases where patients died because they arrived at Miri Hospital too late. It was thus the hope of Lawas people that KKH continue to take patients from Lawas.
Dr Christina reiterated that there was never a change in policy where KKH rejected patients from Lawas or Limbang.
She asked Liaw to provide details of cases allegedly rejected by KKH so she could make thorough investigations.
“Why did they bring up the case three years later? If three years ago they thought there was a policy change, they should have brought it up then and not three years later,” said Dr Christina.