JOHOR BAHRU, Oct 25 – A fire at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital here today resulted in the deaths of six patients at an intensive care unit (ICU), according to the Johor Fire and Rescue Department. Its director, Othman Abdullah, said they were among the seven patients in the southern ICU on the second floor of the hospital. One patient was rescued by firefighters who rushed there after being notified at 8.56am, he added.
He said there were seven critically ill patients in the ICU who, according to doctors, were dependent on ventilators under normal circumstances and could not be moved without their beds. Othman said the department rushed 10 trucks and 166 firefighters to the hospital soon after it was summoned. He said the fire did not spread to other areas of the hospital. Meanwhile, Johor Bahru Selatan Police chief ACP Sulaiman Salleh said five of the bodies were found at 11.15am and the sixth a little later.
He advised the public not to be taken in by unverified information. Meanwhile, an eyewitness, Habibah Abd Ghani, 37, said he was not aware of the fire and only realised it after she was out of the building. She said during the incident, she was in the fourth floor ward accompanying her father who is admitted for pain in the rib. She said then she heard a commotion and was asked by the nurse to get out of the ward.
She said the situation was under control when they go down the stairs, assisted by the hospital staff. She said this when met by reporters here. Habibah also saw many patients and hospital staff in and around the hospital at that time. A Bernama survey at 12 noon revealed the hospital compound was still congested with many patients and staff remaining outside the hospital building.
Meanwhile, Sulaiman said during the incident 294 patients and 193 hospital staff were reported to be in the same building. The four female patients and two male patients who died were among the seven patients in the ICU while a male patient was saved from the fire. He said other patients had been evacuated temporarily to wards in other buildings.
Meanwhile, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the affected patients were being sent to another hospital near Johor Bahru, especially the Sultan Ismail Hospital. The latest information and status on the incident would be notified from time to time, he said in a statement. He urged the people not to speculate and spread inaccurate information about the incident. — Bernama