KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — The Health Ministry today released photos of intensive care units (ICUs) treating Covid-19 patients, cautioning that such wards in the country were nearing maximum capacity or even completely full in some hospitals.
In a Facebook post tonight, the ministry pleaded with Malaysians to comply with Covid-19 standard operating procedures to avoid getting infected and potentially being warded in ICUs.
In the grim and sobering message, the ministry shared photos taken by frontliners of the actual situation currently in ICU wards in hospitals, noting: “All existing beds in hospitals are almost full and reaching maximum capacity.”
“These photos of Hospital Kajang shows that all beds in Hospital Kajang are already full. The same goes for Hospital Ampang, Selayang, Sungai Buloh and other Covid-19 hospitals. The situation is already crowded,” the ministry said.
However, the ministry said Malaysia’s health system has yet to reach a stage where hospital have to choose between who should be on the limited ICU beds for treatment.
“Frontliners who treat these patients are also not going anywhere, they are still in the ICU wards to treat these critical patients. To save lives, all frontliners continue their daily tasks as usual during this first and second day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
“Only one thing we ask from all Malaysians, comply with the rules. Jaga diri, jaga keluarga kita (Protect yourself, protect our families). Don’t let our families become one of those in this ICU ward,” the ministry said.
Last Saturday (May 8), Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said both public and private hospitals were running out of ICU beds.
He had urged Malaysians to help ensure that hospitals would not be forced into a situation of choosing which patient lives or dies when Intensive Care Unit (ICUs) beds run out, by not holding “superspreader” social events and complying with Covid-19 precautions.
On May 11, Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia currently has 734 beds in ICUs, and that the country may need 1,700 or more ICU beds if the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise.
On May 12, Dr Noor Hisham said that around 87 per cent or 641 of the available 734 ICUs were being used for patients who are confirmed to have Covid-19 or are in the category of suspected and probable Covid-19 cases. On that day, the number of confirmed Covid-19 patients in ICUs was 469, including 244 on ventilators.
“Many of our ICU wards are filled with Covid-19 patients, and hospitals have repurposed their other areas, such as ordinary wards, into ICUs,” he had said, as he highlighted that every ICU patient is not a mere statistic but that each of them is someone’s father, mother, brother, sister, or best friend.
Just over the past week, the number of confirmed Covid-19 patients in ICUs nationwide have been steadily rising, from May 7 with 372 ICU patients, May 8 (393), May 9 (416 ), May 10 (434), May 11 (453), May 12 (469), May 13 (481), to 482 today.
Related Articles As Covid-19 drags on, Guan Eng urges govt to introduce second RM45b economic stimulus package Health Ministry: Record 44 new Covid-19 deaths as Malaysia adds 4,140 more cases Normal wards at Seremban hospital converted into semi-ICU for Covid-19 patients