In 1981, an ICU was set up in view of the increasing number of medical
emergencies. It was the second Intensive Care Unit in Sarawak with the
first unit in SGH operating in 1978. There were eight beds - two cardiac
and six general beds. Staffs were trained by Dr. Chew Peng Hong, who
initiated the project. The equipment included one East Radcliff Respirator,
6 wall-mounted Phillip cardiac monitors linked to a central monitoring
system and one Phillip cardiac monitor cum defibrillator. If more than
one patient required ventilator support, nurses had to 'hand-bag' the
patient for days until the condition of the patient improved.
The unit catered for critically ill patients from all disciplines with
the majority from the medical stream. In 1983, a Vicker's ventilator was
purchased to ventilate children. By the 80's, the admission rate ranged
from 350-450 patients per year and by the 90's, increased to 500-600
patients per year and more ventilators were added.
The renal services in ICU started with peritoneal dialysis after the
purchase of one peritoneal dialysis machine in 1981. It catered mainly
for chronic renal failure patients. The dialysis concentrate was purchased
at patient's own cost. With dialysis twice a week, it costs the patient
Despite the various constraints, the survival rate of patients was 60-70%.
Many with severe chemical poisoning cases, and tetanus including a patient
with Guillain Barre Syndrome who was ventilated for six months, survived.
The staffs were constantly told by Dr. Chew Peng Hong that "I want Quality,