Wrong Vaccination Given By Klinik Kesihatan
"I would like to remind mummies out there to raise their concerns to get to the bottom of the matter, especially if they feel something is amiss. Do not just keep quiet. "
Vaccinations have long provided our babies with immunity, but ultimately we still dread watching them go through the painful experience every single time. Imagine one mom’s nightmare when she found out that the nurse on duty at the Klinik Kesihatan that they frequent, had given her son the wrong vaccination.
She posted her story on social media and on The Breastfeeding Advocates Network in hopes to alert other moms of this incident so that another parent will not have to go through the same experience again. Since her posting on Saturday, it has been re-shared over 700 times. Many mothers have since then commented, offering to console (those who are practicing nurses themselves), expressing anger and disbelief that this could happen.
The First Inclination that Something was Wrong
ShihMun’s son is 6 months old and was at the local Klinik Kesihatan for his 3rd dose of Hepatitis B. Routine checks went on as per usual and everything was normal before receiving his vaccination. While trying to pacify her son after the jab, the nurse mentioned that they would meet again in 3 months’ time when her son is 1 year old. Upon hearing that comment, ShihMun realized something had gone wrong. She corrected the nurse and said that her son is 6 months now and will only be 9 months old in 3 months’ time, not 1 year old.
Although the nurse reassured her that the right injection was given, she asked for her son’s health record book and changed the serial number that she wrote earlier. (Note: The serial number of each vaccination is recorded together with the expiry date so that it is traceable). Worried, ShihMun questioned the reason for changing the serial number and the nurse kept insisting that the vaccination given was correct.
ShihMun then requested to see the medicine box so that she could counter check the serial number on the box with what was written on the book. The nurse refused, saying that the box had already been thrown into the Biohazard bin and they were not supposed to retrieve anything from the bin as there are used syringes and needles inside. The nurse kept reassuring ShihMun that the injection given was correct and asked her not to worry.
A Mother’s Instinct
ShihMun was very sure something was wrong and went back to the Klink Kesihatan with her husband to seek further assurance and proof. But there was no proof and no further details given by the nurses at the Klink Kesihatan.
“It felt like we just need to take their word for it. Feeling helpless, we left.”
They then decided to visit a pediatrician to get a second opinion on the matter. They were told that in the event that an MMR vaccination was administered by mistake (3 months earlier than recommended), it would do no harm to their son and it should not have any adverse effect on their son’s health.
Confirmation on Wrong Vaccination Administered
Both ShihMun and her husband returned to the Klinik Kesihatan the very next day to confirm a suspicion they had. They remembered Hepatitis B vaccination to be transparent in colour, whereas the injection given to their son was orange in colour. While they were there, they were called into the Doctor’s office and was told that the nurse confessed that she had indeed given the wrong vaccination to their son.
Her son had been given the MMR vaccination instead of Hepatitis B. The Doctor informed them that a review on this case would be taken to district / state level to ensure that incidences like these do not occur again.
Heart to Heart
I spoke with ShihMun and could tell that this incident has affected her greatly. Apologies were said and fortunately, her son is alright. There was closure to this, but it still did not discount a trust broken. She admits she no longer wants to send her son to Klinik Kesihatan or another branch, despite their offer to transfer her. She wished that Klinik Kesihatan had called her earlier.
She urges all parents out there to reconfirm their child’s details (ie. name, age, type of vaccine required) with the nurses before any injection is given. It would also be good to familiarize yourself with the vaccines and ask all the questions.
“I would like to remind mummies out there to raise their concerns to get to the bottom of the matter, especially if they feel something is amiss. Do not just keep quiet. “
She hopes that by sharing their story, they can help to prevent this type of incident from reoccurring. They hope that KEMENTERIAN KESIHATAN MALAYSIA, Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Pulau Pinang, along with the state government would take this case seriously, to review and have more efficient corrective action to prevent such incidences from happening throughout Malaysia.