MEDIA STATEMENT BY SIVARASA RASIAH, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR SUBANG ( PARTI KEADILAN RAKYAT ) AND LAWYER FOR ANWAR IBRAHIM – 16th November 2015
HEALTH MINISTRY’S STATEMENT ON ANWAR’S HEALTH IS STATING FALSE FACTS
The recent statement by the Health Ministry on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s (DSAI) health issued by an unknown official and reported by Bernama on 6th November 2015 contains some serious misrepresentations which need correction.
The Ministry statement starts by asserting that DSAI’s shoulder injury was sustained prior to his detention. No one has ever contended otherwise. DSAI did suffer his injury about two years prior to his detention and has been managing it with conservative treatment being physiotherapy, analgesics and supplements. What we have been saying is that the injury was worsened by the terrible conditions he was made to endure during the first three weeks of this detention and his pain and discomfort is persistent up to date because of denial of recommended regular and intensive physiotherapy.
The Ministry statement then gives the false impression that a panel of doctors had recommended “exercises” which would be taught by a physiotherapist and to be performed daily in prison by the patient followed by a regular review and that this “was a standard therapy”.
The statement then suggests that the doctors had never recommended intensive physiotherapy. These are shocking, irresponsible and false statements. They are contradicted completely, firstly, by the written reports provided by the panel of doctors who saw DSAI in February and, secondly, by the kind of treatment provided by them to DSAI when he was finally admitted in HKL in June and in July for about 4-5 days each time.
The report dated 10.7.2015 by Dr Arshad bin Puji ( Sports Physician from HKL ) confirms that prior to detention, DSAI opted for “conservative treatment such as physiotherapy with physical and electrical modalities, and analgesia to control the pain”. He confirms that whilst being hospitalized ( in June and July ), DSAI underwent “serial physiotherapy sessions consisting of physical modalities, electrical modalities, functional modalities, and taping application”. In simple language, DSAI underwent daily intensive physiotherapy sessions in hospital from which he experienced a favourable outcome. Dr Arshad concluded his report by saying “ At present, conservative management is the most suitable medical management for his right shoulder problems”.
Another comprehensive report given by Dato Dr Fazir bin Mohamad, Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, HKL dated 13th July 2015 was also written after DSAI’s second hospitalization.
His report starts by saying that he and other doctors examined DSAI in prison on 24th February 2015. He says that after diagnosing the injury as “Chronic Rotator Cuff Injury”, prescribed treatments were physiotherapy to gain back motion, analgesics, and ointment and plasters. Regrettably such physiotherapy although prescribed by the doctors was denied to DSAI because of Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai until he was hospitalized in June.
Dato Dr Fazir then confirms that after DSAI was hospitalized in HKL from 2nd to 5th June, he was “given a daily physiotherapy and he responded positively with the treatement until he was discharged on 5th June 2015”.
Dr Fazir then says after a review on 25th June 2015 in prison, DSAI was hospitalized again in HKL on 7th July “continue his physiotherapy treatment while in the ward”. DSAI did receive daily intensive physiotherapy again from which he received much benefit.
The dishonesty in the Ministry statement that intensive physiotherapy was not recommended is clear. The orthopedic doctors have recommended physio from the outset and did in fact provide daily and intensive physio to DSAI during his brief hospitalizations.
We hold Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai, the head of the panel of doctors managing DSAI’s health, totally responsible for overriding the recommendations of the orthopedic specialists and denying DSAI regular and intensive physiotherapy from March until now. All that has been done is that a physiotherapist has been sent to Sg Buloh prison 10 times to date to guide DSAI in doing some instructions in exercises for his shoulder as well as ultrasound treatment. This is wholly inadequate compared to the type of physiotherapy provided during his hospitalization which gave DSAI considerable benefit.
Independent orthopedic specialists have also concurred with the HKL doctors and said that “ daily intensive and appropriate physiotherapy will prevent rapid deterioration of the muscles of the torn tendons”.
The issue therefore is NOT about what surgical options are suitable for DSAI as is also falsely claimed in the Ministry statement.
The real issue is why is intensive physiotherapy which was provided during DSAI’s hospitalization as recommended by the orthopedic specialists being denied to him up to now, causing him much pain and discomfort and endangering his long term health. Such denial constitutes a form of torture contrary to international law and human rights norms.
We demand that DSAI be taken to either hospitalized or be taken to hospital at least three times a week to receive this treatment. This was done during his earlier detention in 1998 to 2004 and there is no excuse for denying it to him now.
It has also been recently promised in Parliament by Dato Zahid Hamidi in reply to YB Nurul Izzah; regrettably no treatment at all has been provided since that statement by Zahid ten days ago.
We ask the Health Ministry to remain professional and independent on this issue and also to be accountable for the statements that they make by naming the official making the statement in future.
16th November 2015
Member of Parliament for Subang and lawyer for Anwar Ibrahim.