Psychiatric Patient Stabbed Elderly Man 3 Times Over Alleged Hospital Overcrowding Issue

The middle-aged man had to undergo an operation to remove the knife wedged in his abdomen.

Cover image via Clinical Research & Markus Spiske/Unsplash

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A middle-aged man was stabbed by a psychiatric patient at the Selayang Hospital, Selangor, on Tuesday, 14 February, after tempers flared over the alleged overcrowding of the emergency department

According to The Straits Times, the psychiatric patient waited for hours to get a bed in the emergency department. However, all beds in the hospital were already occupied, with even more patients waiting for an opening.

Things came to a boiling point when the psychiatric patient, who was escorted by police at the time, allegedly reached his limit and grabbed a knife from the nurse's pantry before stabbing a middle-aged man who was in the vicinity.

The man was stabbed three times – once in the back and twice in the abdomen. The knife ended up lodged deep in the victim's abdomen which required surgery to remove it.

The victim was apparently suffering from dengue fever and was waiting to be admitted into the emergency room.

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), the victim is conscious and in stable condition after receiving treatment for his stab wounds

"The patient is currently under observation at the intensive care unit (ICU) at Selayang Hospital," Selangor Health director Datuk Dr Sha'ari Ngadiman said in an official MOH statement.

Sha'ari also explained that the perpetrator reacted too quickly to be stopped, and has since been detained by the police.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also weighed in on the situation by explaining that MOH will be reviewing its standard operating procedure (SOP) in treating patients with psychiatric disorders.

"We need to safeguard our patients in emergency departments and our clinics. We have to review our SOP for patients with psychiatric disorders," Noor Hisham told The Star on Tuesday, 14 February. 

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa visited Selayang Hospital on Wednesday, 15 February, to check up on the victim and address the incident in person

"As soon as I came to know the incident that happened at the Selayang Hospital, I hurried over to the location after the parliamentary session to get information and an explanation from the hopsital staff," Zaliha wrote on her official Twitter page.

The Health Minster also met up with the victim's family and ensured them that their family member will be receiving the best treatment the hospital could offer.

The Sekijang member of parliament (MP) also addressed the "cancerous" information technology (ICT) issue that was presumably the cause of the long waiting times at the hospital.

"Regarding this issue, several engagement sessions and discussions were held. I have received a detailed briefing from the Selayang Hospital and the representatives of the Selangor State Health Department to understand the cause of the problem that has long been 'cancerous' in the hospital," Zaliha wrote in a Facebook statement.

"Obviously, this isn't a new issue, it's even inherited. However, with determination, financial allocation, and time, it will be resolved."

In early February, a 64-year-old heart attack patient had to wait 30 hours to be admitted into Serdang Hospital's emergency department:

In the same month and hospital, a patient lost his temper at hospital staff after he waited 11 hours to be serviced:

In a separate incident, a Kelantan doctor refused to ward a 16-year-old boy with serious injuries because he was "too tired and busy":

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