The hospital accused of negligence that led to the amputation of two-and-a-half-month-old Edwin Timothy Sihombing’s right forefinger made a counterattack on Thursday, blaming the doctor’s late response on the child’s parents’ lack of cooperation.
At a press conference, a member of staff from the management of Harapan Bunda Hospital in Ciracas, East Jakarta, said that on March 31 the orthopedic surgeon visiting the patient in his room found necrosis (dead tissue) on the right forefinger, which had become disjointed by itself inside the bandage.
“There was dead tissue because the parents did not cooperate, which caused late treatment,” said Dian Kristiana, the hospital’s marketing and public relations officer, reading from a prepared statement.
Dian said the parents’ baby arrived at the hospital with high fever and seizures on February 20. They took their baby home without any consent from the hospital on Feb. 23. Three days later, they returned to consult the hospital’s pediatrician, reporting that their son’s right forefinger was blue. “The patient was referred to the pediatric surgeon, but they did not follow the pediatrician’s instructions,” Dian said.
She said the parents came to the hospital again on March 2, complaining about the condition of Edwin’s hand and forefinger. The hospital treated the baby and told the parents that his forefinger had to be amputated. “The father agreed as long as the palm would not be amputated. The amputation was not immediately performed as we hoped to see some improvement.”
On March 31, an orthopedic surgeon visited the patient at 7 a.m. and found that the damaged part of the finger had disjointed inside the bandage. “The mother was informed and the doctor then gave the patient antiseptic [...] we learned about the unpleasant media coverage about this case on April 10,” Dian said.
She declined to answer any further questions saying that she was not authorized to do so. After reading the statement, she rushed back to her office and closed the door.
Earlier on Wednesday, Edwin’s parents reported a doctor at Harapan Bunda Hospital to the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas Anak) for allegedly cutting off two segments of the baby’s forefinger without the parents’ consent.
Edwin’s mother, Romauli Manurung, 28, said her son’s hand started to get swollen after being treated at the hospital for high fever, which was allegedly caused by the medicine injected into his hand.
At home, she followed the doctor’s suggestion to apply soothing gel to the wound. When her family filed a complaint to the hospital on March 2 about the deterioration of Edwin’s hand, the hospital agreed to give free treatment to her son. “At a meeting, we were informed about the possibility of amputation. We asked the hospital to be responsible if such a condition really occurred and they agreed,” Romauli said.
Romauli said she had prayed for a miracle right up until the amputation happened. A doctor visited her son early the morning, opened the bandage and cleaned it as usual. However, the doctor suddenly ordered the nurse to get him scissors.
“I thought he was going to use the scissors to cut the nail, but he cut the finger instead. I asked him why he cut it and he told me that the tissues were already dead,” she said.
She lamented that the doctor had not asked for permission, her son, she said, had cried hard while blood was dripping from his finger.
“We want to see the hospital take responsibility and give compensation for [this]. If they don’t show good intentions, we will file a lawsuit,” she said.
Komnas Anak chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait said he would send a letter to the hospital on Friday, ordering them to bring Edwin’s medical record and an explanation.
“We will also encourage the patient’s family to report this case to the police.”
Partial list of hospital negligence cases
March 2004: Irwanto became totally paralyzed after doctors from the Bintaro International Hospital stated he was suffering from heart disease and infused him with the wrong medication.
He went to the hospital complaining of pains in the chest and stiffness in his left hand and was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU). Doctors said something was wrong with his heart. After consulting a hospital in Singapore, he eventually suffered a hemorrhage as his blood vessels ruptured, caused by the infusion.
September 2007: A panel of judges with the South Jakarta District Court ordered certain doctors — and the hospital, the Pondok Indah Hospital — where the deceased Sita Dewi was wrongly diagnosed, to pay Rp 2 billion in compensation.
Sita underwent ovarian tumor surgery in February 2005, when it was actually a different, dangerous tumor she had. She died after surgery.
November 2007: The Supreme Court ordered the Puri Cinere Hospital to pay Rp 520 million to Shanti Marina, whose voice became nasal after a tonsillectomy by a specialist, Wardhani, in 2003.
March 2009: The South Jakarta District Court ruled in favor of Sisi Chalik in a malpractice case against the Budi Jaya Mother and Child Hospital, and ordered the hospital to pay Rp 792 million.
Sisi experienced a lengthy illness after a uterine tumor and laparoscopic surgery at the hospital in May 2000. She had to defecate through her stomach after the operation.
From media reports