As he was riding on the mud and debris covered road, Borhanuddin lost control of his motorcycle at a four corner junction and fell. He was injured in his legs and back and he needed medical attention.
The people who came to his assistance were at a loss because the Kuala Krai Hospital is a long distance away and the nearby Manek Urai Health Clinic was not functioning as it was being used as a flood relief centre.
Then someone thought why not take him to the army field hospital operating at the compound of Sekolah Kebangsaan Manek Urai Baru, opposite the health clinic, and sure enough the field hospital saved the day for Borhanuddin.
As soon as he arrived at the school gates, seeing his injuries the armed forces personnel immediately wheeled him to the treatment room.
THE FIELD HOSPITAL A SAVIOUR
The commander of the Second Battalion Medical Corps of the Malaysian Army Col. Dr Nik Mohd Noor Nik Amin told Bernama recently, the field hospital is a mobile hospital with its services tailored to fulfill the needs during emergencies.
“The field hospital here have been complementing the Kuala Krai Hospital and surrounding clinics after their services were disrupted by blackout and the rising flood waters. That is why we received patients even from as far as the Gua Musang Hospital”.
“We have the services of 10 specialists including surgeons, 20 medical officers, 80 paramedics and 60 support staff here,” explained Dr Nik adding that the treatment areas cover orthopedic, pediatric, obstetric and gynecology.
The field hospital also has another component, the ‘Forward Medical Team'(FMT) that visited more than 20 worst flood hit villages in the interiors including Jelawang and Dabong on helicopter.
The other services provided by the field hospital are emergency treatment, outpatient treatment, pharmacy and other health related services like clean water, eradicating diseases vectors like mosquitoes and flies.
And this is the place where those help flood victims – members of the armed forces, civil defence force (JPAM) and volunteers – come to get vaccinated against typhoid, cholera and leptospirosis.
This field hospital stands testament to the fact how defence assets have been put to use effectively for the civilians in times of need. The floods in Kelantan at the end of 2014 and early 2015 was the worth since 1967 leaving more than 103,000 people displaced.
Kuala Krai and surrounding areas like Manik Urai took the brunt of the rising water.
It served like any other hospital that Malaysians are used to, though its temporary nature. While the media team was visiting the field hospital, the medical team was busy conducting ‘explorative laparotomy’ on a villager suspected of suffering from perforation in the intestines.
The procedure took up to three hours to complete. This condition is caused by gastritis or ulcers in the intestine that is exacerbated in flood victims as they could no longer keep up with the routines even like eating.
Apart from attending to Borhanuddin, the medical team also attended to a volunteer who was rushed to the field hospital with his bloodied hand.
The volunteer’s hand was badly injured after being cut by a glass shard while helping to clean a house belonging to a villager, a strong reminder of the perils awaiting those helping in the clean up process.
Many of the villagers from the surrounding areas in need of regular medication also descended on the field clinic to get their medicines as their regular clinics have yet to reopen due to the damage wrought by flood for other reasons. One of them is Che Yam Che Wail, 48, from Kampung Chucuh Puteri located about 25 kilometers from the hospital.
“I came here to get my regular hypertension medication. It is already time to undergo my regular check-up and collect my medication, then a friend suggested to me that I come here to seek the medication and check-up, that is why I came here,” she said.
PEOPLE APPRECIATE THE SERVICES OF THE HOSPITAL
With an average of 120 patients coming to the hospital daily, the field hospital has treated more than 2,000 people since January 2015.
“Almost 40 per cent of the cases that we see here are related to lung and respiratory infections, another 30 percent relating to dysentery and the rest relating skin infections, injuries including due to sharp items like nails and even snake and scorpion bites .
“The critical cases that we have handled here include head injuries, asthma attacks and serious infections,” said Dr Nik adding that the field hospital has been conducting up to three surgeries daily.
The makeshift hospital also witnessed two births through caesarean section.
There are also wards for patients who need constant observation and in facing any contingency the field hospital makes sure it has enough medication supplies to sustain 1,000 patients for at least for a week.
Dr Nik is happy to note the people affected by the floods in the area and from nearby areas are happy with the help extended by the army field hospital.
“I believe some even come here to see how different is the services provided by the army’s field hospital,” he said beaming with a wide smile.
A WELCOME RELIEF
As for patients like Borhanuddin and Che Yam, the presence of the army field hospital is a welcome relief especially in the hour of need.
“Hospitals like this are important to the people. When emergencies like this happen (referring to his predicament), we have avenues to seek treatment. The treatment too was fast and the people are friendly,” said Borhanuddin.
Che Yam also shared with Bernama her satisfaction on the treatment and services provided by the field hospital.
“This is the first time I am coming here, they are friendly and treated us in the best manner. I am thankful to the army for opening the hospital here,” she said.
As for Ahmad Hamzah, 52, when the flood waters were rising, he was worried on his health as he had undergone a heart bypass in March 2014 and needed to follow-up on his condition.
“I have been putting up at the Manik Urai Health Clinic, which served as a relief centre, the army field hospital is just at the opposite at the school compound. Thus I did not have to worry much as I know if anything goes wrong the doctors were available at the army hospital,” he explained.