A housewife is suing a specialist from Serdang Hospital and the Government for a sum of more than RM20.2 million over alleged medical negligence, after suffering from post-surgery complications that resulted in the loss of her left breast.

58-year-old Pertemahwadi Isac filed the legal action at the High Court registrar on 20 April, naming cardiothoracic specialist Dr Abdul Muiz Jasid and the government respectively as the first and second defendants in her medical lawsuit, claiming that the doctor failed to pay attention to post-operative medical complications.

Negligence led to infection and removal of left breast

In her statement of claim, Pertemahwadi said that she was advised to undergo a bypass surgery on 22 January last year when seeking treatment at Serdang Hospital, to which she complied and underwent a bypass surgery on 16 February, performed by Muiz.

Pertemahwadi was discharged from the hospital nine days later on 24 February, despite complaints that the operative wound on her chest was beginning to open up.

“The doctor told me the stitches were normal because of the weight of my breast,” she said. “Dr Abdul Muiz did not give any support or advice to me on how to reduce the opening.”

However, Pertemahwadi claimed that the specialist neglected to inform or advise her on the potential risks of the bypass in relation to her diabetic condition or the weight of her breast, adding in her claim that she was not prescribed with antibiotics despite the open wound.

She sought post-operative treatment at a nearby health clinic on 27 February, where the attending doctor found that her wound, which had opened to approximately 5cm, had become infected, and advised her to return to Serdang Hospital for further treatment.

Under Muiz’s advice, Pertemahwadi underwent a Vacuum Assisted Closure (VAC) treatment. However, as the infection from the wound had spread, she was referred to the Breast Specialist Department and advised to have the infected part of her breast removed. Due to the extent of the infection, she had to undergo two surgeries to remove her entire left breast.

Incident caused patient emotional suffering

Following the incident, Pertemahwadi claimed that she has lost confidence in the treatment, attention and patient care provided by Serdang Hospital. She added that she has been suffering emotionally and facing mental distress, causing her to be unable to carry out her household duties since February last year.

She is currently seeking RM20 million in general and aggravated damages, along with RM223,486 in special and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.

According to lead counsel Datuk Dr Arunan Selvaraj, Pertemahwadi was asked to sign a letter, promising that she will not take legal action against the hospital. However, she refused to sign the letter and decided to proceed with the civil claim as the hospital failed to provide an explanation for the incident.

“We have no choice but to come to court to seek justice,” he said.

“We don’t want this to happen to other women.” MIMS

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