A married couple, who filed a RM10 million negligence suit against two public health facilities in Terengganu over the death of their four-year-old daughter in 2013, will know of the High Court’s decision next month.

41-year-old school teacher Muhamad Sardi Saad and his 47-year-old wife, Fadilah Abd Wahab, filed the writ of summons at the Kota Baru High Court in December 2015 and named 11 defendants who accepted liability.

The plaintiffs named were five medical officers from Besut Hospital – Dr Shairazi Azizi Mohd Salleh, Dr Mohd Ruhaifi Yusuf, Dr Norzaherawati Aryani Md Tahir, Dr Hasmani Hamat, Dr Muhammad Solehuddin Ishak – three medical officers from Sultan Nur Zahirah Hospital – Dr Noor Ain Noor Afendi, Dr Sharifah Huda Engku Alwi, Datuk Dr Jimmy Lee Kok Foo – the directors of both hospitals as well as the Malaysian government.

Doctors failed to explain to couple on daughter’s worsening condition

It was reported that at 4am on 5 December 2013, the couple’s youngest child, four-year-old Ulya Insyirah, awoke from her sleep and began vomiting repeatedly at home. The child was brought to Besut Hospital at 9.30am, where she was admitted for further treatment and given intravenous fluids.

However, at approximately 5pm the same day, Fadilah noticed that Ulya’s hands and body had swelled following intravenous infusion. She alerted and queried the doctors, but they were allegedly unable to provide a satisfactory explanation.

Ulya’s condition continued to deteriorate. Six hours later, Fadilah requested for an X-Ray which revealed excessive fluids in Ulya’s lungs. By this time, the child had lost consciousness and while several doctors continued to administer more medication, her condition worsened due to inadequate equipment.

She was transferred to the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital at 6.50am the next day, but succumbed to her health condition at 8.05am.

Distraught couple receiving psychiatric treatment after daughter’s death

A medical report revealed that the cause of Ulya’s death was serious acute internal swelling due to excessive intake of water or dosage of medicines during treatment. Ulya’s parents were allegedly offered compensation amounting up to RM14,000 in turn for not bringing the case to court, to which the couple declined.

Instead, the couple chose to resort to legal action, explaining that their decision was to turn the incident into a lesson for all relevant parties and to ensure that such tragedies will not befall other families in the future.

“We have accepted Ulya’s death, but the suit is to instigate changes at the hospitals,” Sardi said. “We would not want more innocent lives to be lost or the same incident to befall unto others.”

Revealing that their daughter’s untimely demise has left them mentally and emotionally distressed, both plaintiffs are seeking damages totalling RM10 million under Section 7(1) of the Civil Law Act 1956.

“My wife and I are unable to sleep, eat or properly carry out our daily activities,” said Sardi. “We are both receiving mental and emotional therapy at psychiatric department of Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital (HUSM) until today.”

Judge Datuk Zainal Azman Abdul Aziz, who heard submissions by counsel for the 11 defendants, has fixed 23 and 24 May 2017 to decide on the negligence suit. MIMS

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