On Tuesday, Feb. 14, a patient waiting at the emergency department of Selayang Hospital in Selangor was stabbed by an agitated psychiatric patient.
According to the Straits Times (ST), the victim was stabbed three times.
Once in the back and twice in the abdomen
The knife was taken by the psychiatric patient from the staff nurse pantry, who used it to stab the victim once in the back and twice in the abdomen, reported ST.
The knife was lodged in the victim's abdomen and required an operation.
The Selangor Health Director said in a statement that the victim is now in a "conscious and stable condition at the hospital's ICU," Malaymail reported.
It is understood that the victim went to the hospital to get treated for dengue fever, Malaysia's Berita Harian wrote.
Malaysia's Minister of Health, Zaliha Mustafa, wrote in a Twitter thread that she rushed to the hospital after a parliament sitting to get more information and an explanation.
Status terkini pesakit juga akan dilaporkan dari masa ke semasa kepada keluarga. Perkara ini sedang dalam siasatan pihak yang berwajib.— Dr Zaliha Mustafa (@DrZalihaMustafa) February 15, 2023
"The family will receive the victim's status updates, from time to time. The relevant authorities are investigating this incident," Zaliha tweeted.
DG Noor Hisham denies allegation that incident was triggered by lack of beds
ST alleged that the stabbing was triggered by long wait times at the hospital due to the lack of beds available.
"The Straits Times understands that the victim, who is a dengue patient, was stabbed three times by the other patient, who was upset over being stranded in the emergency department of Selayang Hospital while waiting for a bed in the wards."
According to ST, "all the wards in the hospital were full at the time of the incident, with dozens waiting for their turns at the emergency department." It added that this was a "reflection that the country's public healthcare continues to grapple with patient overload and inadequate staff."
However, at least one Malaysian official has denied this claim.
DG Noor Hisham says hospital crowds 'not a valid reason' for speculation
Speaking to reporters on Feb. 15, Noor Hisham said that the incident involving the psychiatric patient just happened to be at the emergency department, according to Berita Harian, and the incident may not necessarily be triggered by the lack of beds.
"If a psychiatric patient is disturbed, it will be a problem even if it's not at a hospital. Thus, to reason that it happened because the hospital was overcrowded is not a valid reason," said Noor Hisham.
In a tweet, he decried "viral disinformation" and emphasised that this could "happen anywhere".
He added that the patient was brought in by the police.
Before we viral disinformation pl be informed that the stabbing was done by a psychiatric pt brought in by the police. It can happen anywhere. We need to safeguard our patients in emergency depts & our clinics. We have to review our SOP for patients with psychiatric disorders.— Noor Hisham Abdullah (@DGHisham) February 14, 2023
Noor Hisham added, "the emergency department is always crowded, but the issue is SOP [Standard Operating Procedure]. If the person is a psychiatric patient, we need to have SOPs in place for the safety of other patients," reported Berita Harian (Malaysia).