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Elderly Patient Bitten By Rat At Ipoh General Hospital Ward 

Elderly Patient Bitten By Rat At Ipoh General Hospital Ward 

The 61-year-old patient’s case marks the first rat bite case to be reported at a local hospital in recent years.

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A 61-year-old patient was bitten by a rat while he was admitted to a medical ward at Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB) last September. The rat had supposedly bitten the palm of the patient’s left hand while he was resting on his bed in Ward 5B. 

According to the Perak State Health Department (JKN) inspection, the patient’s food had been placed on the top of a cabinet. His food was exposed and had not been properly covered. 

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The patient had also hung plastic bags, which contained beverages near his bed. As such, the rat, which was described as “big as a rabbit”, was attracted to his food, biting the palm of his left hand while reaching out for it. 

The incident caused the patient to bleed after the bite, as the mark was quite deep. 

His daughter, therefore, lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Health (MOH) after her father was discharged.

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“My dad was bitten by a rat while he was in hospital. I hope you will take this situation seriously. Because this is a hospital, not a restaurant,” wrote the daughter in her written complaint. 

Reprimanded By Officials 

Code Blue reported that JKN responded by first issuing a letter of referral for the victim. The victim was allowed a follow-up treatment and a repeat of blood sampling for the rat bite at a public health clinic near his home.

Next, JKN acknowledged the issue by investigating the hospital. They discovered that the issue was caused due to the hospital’s poor food waste management. 

“The ward head was present during the investigation and was reprimanded about food waste management and the ward’s overall cleanliness,” said Perak State Health Director Dr Sirajuddin Hashim.

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He then listed several preventive measures that will be implemented, including weekly periodic checks on cleanliness and food management, as well as monthly spot checks by the hospital and the concessionaire company for rodent control.

“All rat passageways have been closed and rat hideouts cleared,” said Dr Sirajuddin. 

Besides that, Dr Sirajuddin has also urged patients to be briefed about the importance of maintaining personal hygiene and food management while in the wards.

Going on for too long 

Based on the insights from a staff in the hospital, this has been an ongoing issue. However, the hospital’s management did not pay any attention to it despite the various complaints. 

The staff alleged that family members who stay overnight in the hospital’s wards to look after their loved ones have seen rats crawling around. The rats indeed were bigger than the usual domestic rats. 

“The infestation was noted in many wards, especially in the outside front ward corridors. Broken things left over there for years. Staff don’t bother about public complaints, hence the delay in dealing with this issue which has been going on for several years until this rat-bite incident,” said the staff. 

“Even security guards have seen rats running around in lobbies at night. The leftover food disposal method in ward also caused the rat infestations.” 

Since most patients do not eat the hospital food, it is left over around the patient’s bed without proper disposal. The patients’ outside food is also not properly stored in the ward – leaving an open feast for the rats.

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Hence, the staff believes this may not be the first rat-bite incident. Given that most patients have reduced consciousness or are sedated with medication, some patients may have unknowingly been bitten by rats. 

“The visitors who stay overnight complained they saw rats, mostly in the middle corridors and in the acute cubicle. Those unconscious patients won’t be able to defend themselves or react to the bites, especially when the lights are off at night in most cubicles, except at the nursing counters.” 

Well, seeing how JKN has implemented new rules for the hospital, we hope that things do improve for the patients at Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB). 


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