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MOH to work with NUH on 'thorough investigation' after 36-week pregnant woman lost her baby: Ong Ye Kung

MOH to work with NUH on 'thorough investigation' after 36-week pregnant woman lost her baby: Ong Ye Kung

The woman's husband had earlier alleged that his wife, who was bleeding profusely, was "left unattended" for about 2 hours at NUH's Emergency Medicine Department. (Photo: Facebook/Mee Pok Tah)

SINGAPORE: The Health Ministry will work with the National University Hospital (NUH) to conduct a "thorough investigation", after a 36-week pregnant woman was left waiting at the emergency department (ED) for two hours and lost her baby, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (Mar 25).

In a Facebook post, Mr Ong wrote: "We take a serious view of such incidents, and any lapses or shortcomings will be rectified. Any lessons will be shared with the rest of the healthcare system to ensure such incidents do not happen again."

Mr Ong said he had discussed the matter with MOH's director of medical services Kenneth Mak. 

"We know that NUH has been in contact with the family and extending full support to them," he added.

The National University Hospital (NUH) apologised on Thursday after the incident was recounted by the woman's husband, Mee Pok Tah, on Facebook. 

“We are deeply saddened by the family’s loss and will continue to provide care and support to them during this difficult period,” said NUH in a Facebook post early on Thursday.

The woman was “bleeding profusely” and taken by ambulance to NUH's emergency department on Mar 15, said her husband.

After initial triage, the woman was left unattended for two hours before she was sent to the labour ward.

At the labour ward, an ultrasound scan showed the absence of a fetal heartbeat, caused by placental abruption, a rare and unpredictable pregnancy complication.

“She waited for two hours and this should not have been the case in this circumstance, and we are sorry,” said NUH on Thursday.

“During this time, we should have done more to provide closer monitoring and care, as well as to update the patient of her condition and the transfer.”

"CHALLENGING AND DIFFICULT TIME"

Mr Ong also noted in his Facebook post that whatever the outcome of the investigation, "it is very important that we continue to support our healthcare workers".

He wrote that there have been more reports of abuse of healthcare workers recently and urged the public to continue to show them support and understanding.

"I seek everyone’s understanding that in this pandemic crisis, healthcare workers have been going through a very challenging and difficult time," he said. 

"On top of taking care of COVID-19 patients and subjecting themselves to risk, they have been doing their very best to ensure all emergency cases are properly attended to.

"Let’s continue to show them support and understanding, even as NUH fully investigates the matter," said Mr Ong. 

Source: CNA/yb
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