Covid-19: We’ve not reached ‘Sophie’s choice’ yet, healthcare system still able to cope, says Health Minister

PETALING JAYA: The country’s healthcare system has not reached the point where it is forced to prioritise resources for Covid-19 patients who are more likely to survive instead of those who won’t, says Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

Although hospitals are running out of beds at intensive care units to treat Covid-19 patients, the Health Minister said the government was constantly stepping up its capacity and equipment supplies to ensure every patient receives treatment.

“It is not true. We have not reached that stage,” he was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insight as he dismissed claims by a local doctor working on the frontlines that medical workers were forced to save equipment for only those likely to recover.

The doctor claimed on Twitter that critically-ill Covid-19 patients aged above 60 and with co-morbidities would not receive breathing aid as ventilators were reserved for younger patients with no pre-existing health conditions and are assumed to be more likely to pull through.

The doctor had also claimed that the healthcare system had to work with limited resources and forced into these measures.

The tweet has since been deleted and the claim was also dismissed by other frontline doctors.

The number of new Covid-19 infections has surpassed 4,000 in the past few days, with 4,855 cases reported on Thursday (May 13).

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 481 patients are being treated at intensive care units with 247 requiring breathing support.

On Wednesday (May 12), Dr Noor Hisham said many hospitals had to repurpose other areas in the premises to treat critically-ill Covid-19 patients including turning normal wards into ICUs.