Upgrade hospital’s cardiothoracic unit

Hundreds of patients undergoing treatment or consultation at the cardiothoracic unit of Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital (HRPZ II) in Kota Baru, many  of whom are from the outer districts like Gua Musang and Kuala Krai, are worried. 

KOTA BHARU 27 OCTOBER 2016. Banggunan Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II. NSTP/FATHIL ASRI.

It is learnt that the hospital authorities are considering closing the unit as it is not bringing in the much-needed revenue. Many, especially the more than 520 patients who have undergone heart surgeries at the hospital, are horrified at the prospect of it closing, as the presence of the cardiothoracic unit in the state has made an impact on many people.

The cardiothoracic unit of HRPZ, set up in 2010, is the first such unit in the east coast. It sees an average of 150 patients a month and conducts up to five major surgeries a week. 

Besides HRPZ, Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, also performs major heart surgeries.  If the rumours are true, then HUSM will be the sole facility in the state to handle such cases.

The closing of the HRPZ unit will also mean that doctors and staff members at HUSM will have to handle double the volume of people while patients will have to wait longer for surgeries and consultations.

It is an irony because Persatuan Orang Kota Baru (POKB), a non-governmental organisation, and a group of prominent Kelantanese who were impressed by the performance of the cardiothoracic unit had, earlier this year, proposed that the unit be upgraded to a heart and lung hospital. 

POKB president Datuk Sheikh Ahmad Dusuki Sheikh Mohamad, who mooted the idea, said the number of heart patients, especially those suffering from chronic problems, was on the rise in Kelantan and many were from the low-income group.

He said many of them were poor and came from other districts in the state, and could not afford to get treatment at the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur or private hospitals because of the distance and high costs. 

The cardiothoracic unit of HRPZ, led by Datuk Dr Anas S. Ressang, recorded its first heart surgery in January 2011 and handles cases, including coronary bypass, and hole in the heart and valve replacement operations. 

A devoted doctor, Dr Anas is a respected personality in the field. His dedication is evident in the hours that he puts in, checking in for work daily before 7am and going on his rounds to meet patients by 7.15am, and returning home at almost midnight, according to staff members. 

I witnessed this when I was admitted at the hospital for a bypass in March this year, and I salute him for his dedication and commitment. Having been admitted to hospital several times earlier, that was the first time I saw  a doctor who kept such ungodly hours. 

For all the excellent work by Dr Anas and his team, one could not help but feel that the unit was being neglected and treated like a stepchild by the hospital authorities. I was told that by right,  the unit should have been a department on its own rather than under the surgery department.   Facilities-wise, everything, from the consultation room to the intensive coronary care unit (ICCU) and the high-dependency ward, where post-operation patients recuperate before checking out of the hospital, is small and inadequate.

The services, especially by the nurses at the ICCU, on the other hand, were first-class considering the difficult tasks they have in handling post-operation patients. 

I hope that the cardiothoracic unit at HRPZ II will be maintained and, possibly, upgraded. To Dr Anas and his team, keep up the good work.

Sulaiman Jaafar a grandfather, adores children and loves travelling, both locally and abroad.

Source : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/12/200194/upgrade-hospitals-cardiothoracic-unit