Dental centre charged with DPM's son-in-law's death "kept used syringes in biscuit tin"

Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The Imperial Dental Specialist Centre Sdn Bhd, charged with causing the death of the Deputy Prime Minister's son-in-law while he underwent treatment there, had kept used syringes and injection needles in a cabinet drawer and a biscuit tin.

Private Medical Practice Safety Unit (CKAPS) deputy director Dr Ahmad Fairol Mahat told the sessions court yesterday that he found the syringes and needles when his team inspected the premises on June 2, last year.

He said some of the syringes and needles found in a cabinet drawer were filled with fluid and were not labelled.

"Injection needles found in a biscuit tin had blood-like stains on them," he said during examination by deputy public prosecutor Jaizah Jaafar Sidek on the third day of the trial in which the clinic faces nine counts relating to Datuk Syed Alman Zain Syed Alwi's death.

Dr Ahmad Fairol, 30, the fifth prosecution witness, said he was tasked with checking whether the clinic's floor plan was the same as the plan submitted when the clinic applied for a licence.

The witness said the team also took 52 photographs in the vicinity of the clinic to facilitate investigations.

On what he did upon discovering the syringes and needles, Dr Ahmad Fairol said he ordered a clinic staff member to dispose of them into a clinical waste disposal bin.

Asked if the syringes and needles were properly placed, the witness replied in the negative.

He explained that the syringes and needles should have been disposed of, appropriately, as they could be a biological hazard.

When cross-examined by lawyer P. Sreekant, Dr Ahmad Fairol said he did not know if the fluids in the syringes were some kind of medication, as they were not labelled.

The witness, however, agreed with Sreekant that he was unsure whether the stains found on the needles in the biscuit tin were blood stains as no tests were conducted, and he made the assumption based on the colour.

During re-examination by Jaizah Jaafar, the witness said the team did not confiscate the syringes, needles and biscuit tin, because the items were unsafe.

"It is not safe to seize the biscuit tin, because it contained several used needles. The container should have been disposed of, as it was harmful to anyone who got hold of it," he said.

On Aug 12 last year, the company represented by director Datin Dr Wong Yen Ling claimed trial to nine charges in connection with Syed Alman Zain's death.

Dr Wong, as licence holder, was charged with, among others, failing to ensure that Dr Ting Teck Chin, who administered anaesthesia to Syed Alman Zain, had the qualification to do so.

The clinic is also accused of failing to ensure that the individuals it engaged to perform orthopantomogram, anaesthesia and IV sedation on Syed Alman Zain had the necessary qualifications.

It is also accused of failing to put in place life-saving measures by not providing oxygen as a basic emergency care service, as well as failing to submit to University Malaya Medical Centre, a copy of all of Syed Alman Zain's medical records when he was transferred there.

The clinic is also charged with failing to keep and maintain a staff register record, adhere to medicine labelling regulations and take adequate measures to protect its professional healthcare and environment staff from biological hazards.

The offences were allegedly committed at the dental specialist centre located at Lot 62 & 64, Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru, Brickfields here, between 6pm and 9.05pm, between May 26 and June 2.

Seven of the charges are under Section 31(4), 39(2), 40(4) and 117(2)(b)(i) of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998, which provides for a fine of between RM30,000 and RM300,000, upon conviction.

The other two charges are under Regulation 49(7) and 245(6) of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Hospitals and Other Private Healthcare Facilities) Regulations 2006, which carry a fine of up to RM10,000 or three months imprisonment or both, on conviction.

The hearing before judge Harmi Thamri Mohamad @ Shaharuddin resumes on April 24. -- BERNAMA