Frontliner Shares She Tested COVID-19 Positive Because A Patient Lied About Their Health

"Your action can affect other patients, health officers, and their families. We are human, too."

Cover image via Mahzir Mat Isa/New Straits Times

A frontliner working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) has detailed in a Facebook post how she became infected with the coronavirus after a patient lied about their health when they came in for a check-up

The frontliner's post has now gone viral after it was shared by both the ministry and Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, urging people to not lie to frontliners about their conditions. 

In her post, the frontliner, Nur Marini Zainal, stated that the patient claimed they were healthy after their body temperature was normal

However, the patient, who had come in for computerised tomography (CT) scan, was caught lying during the procedure when doctors and nurses saw the scan of his lungs.

"We were shocked to see a picture of his lungs in CT scan. It was just like the lungs of COVID-19 patients," Nur Marini wrote in her Facebook post on 23 December.

"When we asked again, he finally admitted that he had been coughing and had been feverish for a week, but felt a little healthy to come for his CT scan appointment."

The patient was confirmed COVID-19 positive after two days

According to Nur Marini, she was categorised as low-risk contact at first.

"This was because both of us (the patient and me) wore surgical masks (for low-risk patients), and the patient did not cough in front of me," the frontliner wrote in her post, that has been shared over 12,000 times.

Nur Marini stated that the distance in terms of her proximity was the only thing that could not be avoided as she had to prep the patient before the CT scan.

"Contact time was not that long, about 5-15 minutes. I practised hand hygiene according to the standard operating procedures because I am paranoid like that," she added.

The frontliner was not wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) as PPE stocks are limited and they are only meant for staff who treat high-risk patients.

Initially, she was told that she doesn't need to quarantine or go for a swab test at the time. However, she felt like something was wrong.

"I was told that no quarantine or swab was needed at this time. But my heart was not happy, so I decided to undergo a swab at another hospital and decided to quarantine myself even though I was not symptomatic," she wrote.

Her test came back positive.

I cried when I found out because I felt this profound sadness as I had to be separated from my children and husband.
Nur Marini Zainal

She wrote that she was also worried about her family and colleagues whom she might have infected due to the lying patient. She stated that she was really disappointed with such an attitude.

In the end, she urged people to not lie if they are sick

"Your action can affect other patients, health officers, and their families. We are human, too."

Remember to limit your movement and wash your hands often. Watch the latest update on the COVID-19 situation:

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