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KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has awarded RM5.1mil to the estate of the former CEO of Projek Lintasan Kota Holdings Sdn Bhd (Prolintas) who suffered brain damage due to medical negligence.

In a judgment dated May 3, Justice Mohd Arief Emran Arifin found that the damage or loss suffered by the deceased, Datuk Zainudin A. Kadir, was caused by the wrongful conduct of the defendants: Pusat Pakar Tawakal Sdn Bhd and two specialist doctors.

“The damage would not have happened but for the tortious conduct of all the defendants,” he said in the written judgment released on the judiciary website last week.

The damages awarded by the court included RM4.09mil for loss of income, RM500,000 for general damages for pain and suffering, and RM269,500 for the cost of hiring a maid and caregivers.

Regarding the damages for loss of income, the court found that the deceased was a high-ranking officer of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) who earned RM65,000 monthly.

The judge said evidence showed that the deceased was working on contractual terms with PNB and could have continued working until the expiration of his contract.

Based on statements, Zainudin had 63 months remaining on his contract with PNB.

The court also ordered all the defendants to pay RM210,000 in costs to the estate.

Justice Mohd Arief said it was not the function of the court to punish the doctors or hospital but to compensate the plaintiff.

“The award of damages is an attempt by the legal system to put the plaintiff in the same position as far as monetary compensation can,” he said.

According to the facts of the case, Zainudin was admitted to the hospital on Feb 22, 2016, after suffering vertigo, fever, and flu.

He was scheduled to undergo bilateral functional endoscopic sinus surgery with septoplasty and turbinoplasty.

On Feb 26, 2016, the operation took place from 5.45pm and ended at 8.05pm. The records showed that the operation went well and there was no untoward incident during the three-hour surgery.

However, things took a turn around 9.30pm when Zainudin had difficulty breathing and turned blue.

According to Zainudin’s son, who was also a doctor and had tried assisting in the resuscitation of his father by performing CPR, the oxygen converter required for oxygen supply was missing from the ward.

It was also found that Zainudin was wrongly intubated when the endotracheal tube was inserted into his esophagus.

The deceased was later transferred to the ICU but by this stage, he was showing signs of severe brain damage.

He was discharged from the hospital on April 11, 2016.

He was cared for by his wife, Datin Nor Rizam Abdul Wahab, with the assistance of care workers until he subsequently passed away at his home.