Malaysia’s Health Director-General on Wednesday (20 January) denied claims that a front line healthcare worker had passed away earlier this week due to fatigue.
Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a Facebook post yesterday that the deceased, Dr Ali Noor Hassan, had tested negative for COVID-19 prior to his death.
He added that Dr Ali was admitted to Kuala Lumpur Hospital since early December last year due to other illnesses and had undergone several treatment sessions.
The Health Ministry also issued a statement, confirming Dr Noor Hisham’s remarks on the matter.
Speculation on Dr Ali’s death is believed to have surfaced on a Facebook page called Skuad Pengurusan Jenazah – SPJ Malaysia, which said that it received news about Dr Ali’s death through his Facebook page, allegedly as a result of fatigue.
In an update of its post, Skuad Pengurusan Jenazah – SPJ Malaysia noted that Asilah Alqarny, the late Dr Ali’s wife, said that her husband had passed away due to “acute respiratory distress, not because of fatigue while on duty fighting the COVID-19 pandemic”.
A family member had earlier told Berita Harian that Dr Ali passed away due to internal bleeding in the brain after he fell in the toilet when he was on duty.
The deceased has also undergone a few surgeries, said the family member.
The initial post said that Dr Ali had passed out while on duty.
Dr Ali’s death and the claims made in the post sparked debate among Malaysian netizens, with many speculating that exhaustion from being overworked had caused the man to fall acutely ill.
Some commenters also said that any frontline workers who are sick should not be forced to work, as their health condition might deteriorate. They should instead be given some time to rest and replenish before continuing to serve the country.