Heartless red tape

A HOTEL employee is upset that her late husband did not get the chance to go through a procedure to insert two stents for a heart problem due to red tape.

Roszita Ahmad, 47, alleged that the Penang Hospital and the EPF office had delayed the operation.

“I am so upset with the attitude of the hospital staff and EPF for delaying the whole operation process. Only if they had taken better care of my husband he would have been alive today.

“I hope such a thing does not occur again to anyone facing a life and death situation,” she said in between sobs at a press conference called by state Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh at his office in Komtar yesterday.

She alleged she was given the run around at both the Penang Hospital and the EPF office when she went to inquire on how to go about withdrawing her husband’s EPF savings from Account Two for the surgery.

The mother of five said the first stent was inserted at a private hospital for her husband Ahmad Nazri Ibrahim, 48, a former property and safety supervisor of a hotel on Dec 22.

When there was no insurance cover for the implant of an-other two stents, she decided to seek assistance from the Penang Hospital by using the EPF savings.

Roszita, who is working in the housekeeping department in a hotel in Batu Ferringhi, said she went to the hospital and EPF office the next day to ask about the procedures to withdraw RM19,000 for the operation.

She claimed that the EPF officers told her the application could only be processed upon the availability of the original hospital bill and that she had to pay first for the procedure.

“I requested them to issue a guarantee letter to the hospital, but instead they gave me a statement.

“When I went to the relevant department in the hospital, the officer-in-charge refused to entertain me, while the staff members told me that they could not help me as payment was required first before the operation could be carried out,” she alleged.

She said she then sought the help from Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong, who then discussed the matter with Phee. The latter then asked Ahmad Nazri’s employer to issue a guarantee letter to the hospital.

Roszita claimed that her husband was then admitted on Dec 27, but because he was suffering from pneumonia, he was discharged the next day and asked to come back on Jan 14.

“After my plight was highlighted in several newspapers on Jan 1, EPF officers gave me a guarantee letter. I was told that the hospital staff went to the office to sort out the matter,” she claimed.

She said when her husband was admitted again on Jan 11, he developed breathing diffi-culties and slipped into a coma before passing away on Jan 19.

Phee said he wrote a letter to the hospital’s director on Jan 20 to seek an explanation on the matter.

“I have yet to get a reply from them. I will not let the matter rest until an explanation is given.

“I wonder why did the hospital make it so difficult when the EPF had already said that the statement was good enough to show that the contributor had enough funds in his account,” he added.

When contacted, the hospital’s director Dr Raja Lope Ahmad Raja Ariffin said he would look into the matter as he was not aware of the issue.

“I have to get further information before I can make any comments,” he added.

The Star

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