On the 18th of February 2002, Kam Agong was due to deliver her eighth child at the Lawas District Hospital. Her husband was told she needed a cesarean section and signed a form consenting to the procedure. Little did he know that his wife endured a cesarean section at the hands of inexperienced doctors at a hospital with inadequate equipment. Post-surgery, Kam Agong struggled with primary and secondary postpartum haemorrhage. She died 28 days after the cesarean section in Long Semadoh, Lawas, Sarawak at the age of 44.
In 2004, we, Kam Agong’s family, initiated a medical negligence case against the government, hospital, doctors and medical officers involved in the case. We were forced to represent ourselves as no one was willing to act as our legal counsel in Sarawak.
In 2008, a session’s court judge ruled that the defendants were 100% liable for medical negligence and awarded the family with RM60,000 in damages and allowed an appeal to the High Court for a higher quantum, especially for the loss of household income.
The defendants appealed against the Session’s Court’s judgment. However, the High Court judge upheld the Session’s Court’s ruling and ruled that there was sufficient evidence that the late Kam Agong contributed to the household income.
The Big Picture
Kam Agong’s case was reported, investigated, and documented; and, her family won both a settlement and accountability from the government. However, this is an anomaly. In Sarawak, maternal mortality cases go unreported. There are no up to date statistics on the maternal mortality rate in Sarawak.
Two close friends pushed us to make this documentary and introduced us to the Freedom Film Fest (FFF). We pitched FFF for a film grant along with six others and “The Story of Kam Agong” was selected as one of the grant winners.
It took us 10 days to film this documentary and three months to edit. We have screened “The Story of Kam Agong” throughout peninsular Malaysia, the Sarawakian cities of Kuching and Miri and on the University Malaysia Sarawak and University Putra Malaysia (UPM) campuses.We hope to screen the documentary in Europe and other parts of the world. Through this documentary, our goal is to compel the Federal Government of Malaysia to provide adequate maternity care and healthcare in Sarawak.