A woman has filed a medical negligence suit against a Serdang Hospital doctor claiming that a botched procedure had caused the loss of her left breast.
The suit was by Pertemahwadi Isac through her lawyer Arunan Selvaraj at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, against the cardiothoracic specialist Dr Abdul Muiz Jasid and the Malaysian government.
She is claiming RM20 million in general and aggravated damages, and RM223,487.60 in special damages, among other reliefs.
According to her statement of claim, the 56-year-old homemaker said she had suffered three blocked arteries last year and undergone a bypass surgery performed by Abdul Muiz on Feb 12, 2016.
She was also suffering from diabetes mellitus at the time, which the doctor was supposedly aware of.
Prior to being discharged on Feb 24 that year, she complained to her doctor that the wounds on her chest were opening up, but the doctor supposedly dismissed her complaints saying that it is normal for the stitches to open up due to the weight of her breast and the fact that her breast was unsupported.
She claimed that she was discharged on the same day she made her complaint, where she was given medication excluding antibiotics, and was told to seek post-operation treatment at a government clinic.
“The first defendant (Abdul Muiz) did not pay sufficient attention to the problem caused by the opening of the wound, which was due to the plaintiff’s heavy breast.
“The doctor was negligent in discharging the plaintiff despite the plaintiff’s complaint that her wound was opening up.
“No support was provided nor advised by the first defendant as to the plaintiff’s breast to reduce the opening of the wound,” Pertemahwadi said in her statement.
When she turned up at the clinic on Feb 27, her statement read, the attending doctor supposedly told her that the wound opening was about two inches in size and was too big, and had obvious signs of infection.
She was told to seek immediate medical attention at Serdang Hospital, which she did and was admitted, and was advised by Abdul Muiz to undergo vacuum assisted closure (VAC).
The procedure entails having the wound filled with foam and covered with a layer of adhesive film, before air under the film is pumped out to create a vacuum seal.
Nevertheless, the infection continued to spread, and she was referred to the Breast Specialist Department and was twice advised to undergo surgery to remove the infected part of her left breast, to which she agreed.
‘Not properly advised’
The first surgery entailed the partial removal of the breast but did not resolve the problem. The second surgery removed what remained of the left breast.
She claimed that she was not properly advised that the infection would still spread following VAC, nor did the doctor take sufficient care to prevent the spread.
She said she then lost confidence in the treatment and was voluntarily discharged from Serdang Hospital to seek further treatment at Pantai Hospital and Assunta Hospital, where she racked up a total of RM199,725.10 in medical expenses.
In addition, she said she was bed-ridden from February to October last year and was unable to perform any household duties, and her ability to perform chores after that was also impaired.
She said she also suffered emotionally and mentally over her ordeal.
Speaking to reporters after the court filing, her lawyer Arunan said Pertemahwadi had written a letter to Serdang Hospital to seek an explanation last year.
He said her letter went unanswered, and was followed up with two letters from his law firm.
Eventually, the hospital did call Pertemahwadi to a meeting.
“(They) gave some ‘brief’ explanation and wanted our client to sign a document that basically waives her right to sue.
“Our client did not sign that. We have given them a chance to explain, but they did not explain. That’s why our client had no choice but to resort to this,” Arunan said.