Schoolgirl’s TB death points to weaknesses in healthcare system

A long queue waiting at the crowded Penang General Hospital - ANIL NETTO/FILE PHOTO

Carmen Yee’s death suggests shortcomings in the country’s healthcare system, says JD Lovrenciear.

The case of Penang schoolgirl, Carmen Yee, 19, who succumbed to tuberculosis not only demands investigation but deserves national scrutiny.

Take ownership, Malaysia! Why must young Malaysians die of TB in today’s progressive, new Malaysia? The media narrations suggest this was not just a case of ‘isolated negligence’.

We have to have the courage to say enough is enough, if our political representatives cannot deliver.

The health minister may be determined to save lives through a blanket ban on smoking at all eateries nationwide. But he fails to realise that the real problem may lie in the falling apart of yet another ministry. Not only is the Ministry of Education in a shambles; so too is the Ministry of Health, it would seem.

Just look at how we are dealing with the haze, which has worsened with each passing year.

How did Carmen end up a victim? What do our politicians have to say? Will we again hear the public relations spin of how effective our healthcare delivery is, with feel-good stories in the media? Let us not be fooled again by the often-heard rebuttal that one bad apple does not spoil the whole basket.

Carmen did not receive the urgent professional medical help she needed. The ambulance was apparently not available. The emergency department allegedly could not respond with precision ability.

The attitude of some of the staff leaves much to be desired. The health minister should go in disguise and hang out in hospitals at night to get a feel of how ‘teruk‘ the situation on the ground is in some places.

The most effective medication is sometimes not available. Senior citizens, including those who are barely mobile, are sometimes asked to come back repeatedly.

How does the standard of healthcare in Malaysia, which aspires to enter the ranks of ‘developed nations’, compare with the standards in those nations?

Why is TB still here? Are we going to hear the justification that it is on the rise in other countries as well?

Look at the food and beverage industry. How many of the millions of workers have been given reliable health screenings, which are validated periodically? Go ask the workers on the quiet and they might cough out the truth.

All concerned citizens must say enough is enough. If politicians who got elected based on their lofty promises cannot deliver, they had better take ownership and quit. They do not have to wait until their five-year term is up.

READ MORE:  Serious deficiencies in managing Covid-positive cases prior to admission

Carmen should never have died.

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Davis Tan
24 Sep 2019 10.52pm

If they took PSM Jeyakurma advices years ago, such tragedy can prevent.

Ravi Nair
Ravi Nair
24 Sep 2019 10.54am

TB disappeared from Malaysian health system long ago. Unfortunately in recent years it has appeared again and spreading like wildfire. Look around….. at restaurants, hawker centers, school canteens, cleaning services we will find horrible looking … labourers working as cooks, kitchen helpers, washing and cleaning.

How good is our enforcement on screening these foreign workers prior to giving visa to work?????? Day by day this nation is going backwards totally due very poor Enforcement of Law, Malaysia Semua Boleh Attitude + Happy Corrupted Civil servants.

Perumal Kali
23 Sep 2019 3.30pm

It is time that the strong medicine be prescribed to the so called civil servants who do not perform their duty & give lame excuses in discharging their duty.Things have changed drastically to the point that 90% of the workers are of one race only.Now is the time to take the Malaysian race a mix & relevent for modern times so that everyone will wake up from the slumber & contribute their share of burden in bringinry.Time is up also to introduce meritg prosperity to our count

Ravi Nair
Ravi Nair
24 Sep 2019 11.03am
Reply to  Perumal Kali

Absolute truth!!!!! Head to Toe is Corrupted, Brainless, Unethical goons…..

Allen Loh
23 Sep 2019 1.55pm

TB must be carried in by the millions of PATi entering our country without doing any health scanning !

Ting Chai Teh
23 Sep 2019 12.42pm

v louzy!! low grad doc!! .. v urgent case patient cough blood also treat lightly..sack him…pls save patients..they need yoir care doc..

Roger Yeo
23 Sep 2019 12.06pm

A corrupt governance system of importing foreign workers

Ravi Nair
Ravi Nair
24 Sep 2019 11.05am
Reply to  Roger Yeo


Kam Chee Ng
23 Sep 2019 12.02pm

TB,this type of virus has been disappear in Malaysia long time ago,the go keeper of our country is the immigration and enforcement agencies.Too many illegal immigrants have bought in the virus but no body really care.

Wong Yew Hon
23 Sep 2019 11.40am

Will the MOH be professional and bold enough to admit the shortcomings or just sit here and do nothing?

Siang Chin Teoh
23 Sep 2019 11.19am

Some of us pensioners are volunteering to be the mystery shopper in the helath care system to identify cracks and gaps before catastrophic errors