Saturday, February 21, 2009

'In memoriam' - P Uthayakumar
Pakac Luteb Feb 19, 09 4:39pm
I refer to the Malaysiakini

Report Uthaya's foot injury getting worse.

I'm writing ‘in memory’ of P Uthayakumar, a true Malaysian hero who fought for human rights during his incarceration under the draconian ISA He was slowly tortured to death by the police, aided by doctors who should have acted on Uthaya's behalf.
The death of Uthaya is as much murder as the death of A Kugan. Uthaya was held by the police under physically poor conditions and deprived of medicine, proper medical care and a proper diet.
The doctors were grossly negligent and failed to give Uthaya a proper standard of care. Any medical officer knows enough about diabetes to properly care for someone such as Uthaya. High blood sugar makes even small wounds have the potential to cause serious infections.
What Uthaya needed was urgent surgery and antibiotics, However, his ill health before his death could have been avoided by a proper diet, medication and proper medical treatment.
The doctors concerned should have their annual practising certificates withdrawn. The Malaysian Medical Association and the Malaysian Medical Council should act swiftly as allowing wilfully negligent doctors to continue to practise medicine will seriously erode public confidence in the medical profession.
Doctors are expected to be moral and have the interest of the patient in mind. The way the doctors behaved in the case of Uthaya is grossly immoral.
Well, allow me to clarify that Uthaya's not dead yet, but he will be soon. His necrotic toe will soon be gangrenous, then his leg will be infected and he will develop sepsis (a generalised blood infection). He will then develop kidney failure followed by heart failure and his death will be said to be due to a heart attack.
Although the death certificate may give the cause of death as a heart attack (or some other cause), the true cause will be total body system failure (brain, liver, kidney, lung, etc.) due to exacerbation of his diabetes by the manner in which the police and doctors treated him.
Why are the Hindraf leaders under ISA? The government fears them very, very much. Here's why: The Indians are a downtrodden marginalised minority. If the indians are permitted to revolt, other ethnic communities will realise that if the Indians (with everything stacked against them) can do it, then they (other ethnic groups) can do it too.
Once much of society feels it's time to revolt to take back the civil rights the government has taken away, the government will swiftly fall. That is why the Hindraf leaders are under the ISA.
Diabetes is not a death sentence if properly treated. With proper control of blood sugar, a diabetic can have 30-40 years of good health before serious complications occur, chiefly eye and heart
problems. The loss of toes and legs can be avoided by proper control of blood sugar.
However, diabetes makes infections harder to defeat. Infections raise blood sugar in diabetics.
Both infection and blood sugar can quickly spiral out of control in a diabetic. An all too common scenario for diabetics is high blood sugar, infection, blood sugar increasing and the infection becoming worse.
Urgent medical treatment is required to treat both the blood sugar and the infection. If treatment is absent, delayed or insufficient, blood sugar and the infection spiral out of control, the person goes into coma, their kidneys fail and their heart struggles because of the kidney failure.
The heart can't cope, their lungs fill with fluid and the heart is further over-stressed by the lack of oxygen and the struggle to pump blood. A heart attack ensues.
Although the death certificate can say heart attack is the cause of death, it's actually fluid in the lungs, kidney failure, sepsis and high blood sugar that killed the person.
In the case of Uthaya, as in so many other cases, death as an outcome of infection in a diabetic is an avoidable death, if proper treatment is given early enough.
Any surgery has risks. Uthaya, in his weakened state and with his diabetes (poorly managed diabetes, because of how the police treat him), would face more severe risks than usual.
It's possible Uthaya could die during surgery or during the recovery period after surgery.
Whether Uthaya survives or not or has his leg amputated (an amputation that could have been avoided by prompt and proper treatment including being warded in hospital, infusion of antibiotics, treatment of toe or amputation of toe) he is a true Malaysian hero, struggling for the civil rights for all Malaysians, their children and grandchildren.
Uthaya is trying to create a Malaysia that will be a better place for all, not just Indians.
How a society treats it's less fortunate members (the old, sickly, mentally ill, poor, uneducated, handicapped) is one way to measure how civil a society is. How a society treats it's critics, it's dissidents, is another measure of how civil (and democratic) a society is. Malaysia thus measured ranks poorly compared to many countries. Malaysia is much better than some countries on this issue, but that is more because those countries are so abysmal rather than because Malaysia is liberal. Malaysia, in reality, is not liberal.
Social ills won't be solved by pretending they don't exist or by jailing those who point out their existence. Social ills can be solved only when the government takes an active role in supporting those persons who are trying to solve these social ills.
Why is the government acting as it does, against it's own citizens and against vulnerable defenceless members of society? Do the people in government really want a society where women are raped and trafficked and marginalised, a society that treats the wealthy with respect and the poor and handicapped with disdain?
Maybe they do want that, maybe they think they are never going to be raped or handicapped or poor, so it does not apply to them. If so, they don't realise they are just one slip in the shower or one road accident or one stroke or any other human malady away from being handicapped.
As for being poor, with the economy declining, unemployment and inflation increasing, the value of their money will drop and although they may not become very poor or homeless, their lifestyle will certainly be affected. They will get at least a little taste of what being poor means.
To them it will mean deciding where and for how long they go on holiday or do they buy a Mercedes or a Toyota. But they won't really know what a poor person experiences. A poor person daily has to make choices such as do they buy food or clothes and walk a long distance to work or do they spend the money on taking a bus.
The government will have the support of the rakyat only when the government shows it truly understands the needs and aspirations of the rakyat and truly helps the rakyat. The rakyat are not stupid, they know the difference between words and actions and see that the present government talks a lot and promises much but delivers little.
Worse still, the present government actively acts against the needs and aspirations of the rakyat. The rakyat understands that the present government is not good for them as can be clearly be seen by the votes in the last general election and recent by-elections.