Photo of SPH papers from Yahoo Singapore

The Malaysia’s Health Ministry will be issuing a formal complaint against Singapore’s government state media over a fake news claiming that emergency procedures were delayed because the Malaysian hospitals were asking for upfront payment.

According to Singapore’s state media Straits Times and Independent.sg, the two government-regulated state media reported a quote by a witness Ernest Lee:

“However the hospital was not equipped to perform the surgery, Mr Lee said, adding that staff withheld preliminary medical scans until the family offered to pay cash up-front.”

The Malaysian Health Minister condemned the fake news and said:

“The allegations not only have a negative impact on us but also lower the morale and motivation of public health workers who work hard and are dedicated to saving lives.”

In earlier reports, the Malaysia Health Ministry also provided a timeline of the entire incident contradicting the Singapore state media reports of 30 minutes response time by the ambulance:

“From the ambulance service records, it was noted that the emergency call was made at 2.57am on the 25th August 2017. The ambulance left Sultanah Aminah Hospital at 2.59am, arrived at the accident site at 3.10am and departed from the scene with the patient at 3.15am. Kudos to the ambulance call services for a very timely response, with despatch time of two minutes and response time of 13 minutes…

The Emergency Department team also initiated the necessary imaging (primary survey X-rays, CT-scan of brain, cervical and thorax), treatment (including intubation) and referral to the relevant team in a very timely and professional manner, without asking for any deposit since this is an emergency case. This was in line with the MOH policy declared on March 4, 2015, regarding deposit payment for foreigners in MOH hospitals. In view of the injury to his brain, the patient was referred to Neurosurgery team, and urgent decompressive craniectomy plus removal of clot and intracranial pressure monitoring was planned without demand for any deposit payment. Subsequent to this, the family members arrived, and only then they were requested to make deposit payment as per protocol for foreigner patient; but it is important to note that the emergency imaging and treatments required were not withheld or delayed.”

The Malaysian Health Ministry also warned Singapore state media to be responsible in their reporting:

“All relevant parties to be responsible in reporting and further commenting, as releasing inaccurate information and baseless statement can lead to misunderstanding and disrupt the harmony. The MOH has always value life and does it utmost best to treat any patient, regardless of their background or nationality.”