Saturday, 30 January 2010

District Hospital Kuala Lumpur


In 1870, the British developed a district hospital at Jalan Pahang in Kuala Lumpur, which comprised three wards - the Chinese Tai Wah Ward, the Indian Choudhry Ward and the Malay Ward.

In an interview with Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid in May 2007, the author had asked him the description of Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) during his era. According to Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid, the hospital buildings were wooden and single storey.
The District Hospital Kuala Lumpur (after 1870) which became the General Hospital Kuala Lumpur (after 1962).

General Hospital Kuala Lumpur - the buildings were wooden and single-storey.

In 1920, after the First World War (WWI), the facilities were upgraded to include 25 wards. However, the First Class Ward was not sited at Jalan Pahang but at Bangsar. Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid was quick to inform that the Bangsar Hospital was meant for Europeans only. The second and third class wards were sited at Jalan Pahang. The development of HKL was carried out in phases. At one time, funds for building HKL was insuffient and development came to a complete halt. The unfinished parts of the HKL became known as Huxley's remains, after Huxley (the reason will not be reproduced here).

Upon graduation from the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore in March 1930, Dr MJ Che Lah had first worked with the British Government at the District Hospital Kuala Lumpur on 30 April 1930. He earned $250 monthly ($3,000 per annum) with a three-year agreement. He was appointed an Assistant Medical Officer and served as the Assistant Surgeon at the hospital. He had served the hospital from 1930 to September 1937 (he had served other hospitals during that period).
The District Hospital Kuala Lumpur was further developed in the early 1960s. It was renamed the General Hospital Kuala Lumpur (Hospital Besar Kuala Lumpur or HBKL) and later Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL).

The development of HKL began in 1962 from Phase I to Phase IV and ended in 1975. Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid retired as the first Director General of Health the following year.

The development of the various phases were as follows:
  • Phase I (1962 - 1968): Maternity Hospital, North Ward Block, Radiotherapy Department and Hostels for staff were built.
  • Phase II (1968-1972): South Ward Block, Neurology Institute, Surgical Block, Radiology Block, National Blood Transfusion Centre and more hostels were added.
  • Phase III (1972-1973): Specialist clinics, Outpatient Department and Doctor's hostel were constructed.
  • Phase IV-A (1973-1974): Trainee Nurses hostel and Clubhouse added.
  • Phase IV-B (1975): Orthopaedic Institute, Urology Institute, Artificial Limb Centre and Radiology Block built. The last phase of HKL was completed at the cost of RM 77 million.
In 1973, HKL became a teaching hospital for UKM medical students.
  • From 1986 - 1988, repairs and refurbishment of old building (Wooden Block) were performed.
  • The Paediatric Institute was constructed in 1989-1992.
  • Phase II upgrading of the Institute of Radiotherapy, Oncology and Nuclear Medicine  were performed in 1994-1997.

Information on Huxley's Remains was obtained by personal communication & interview with Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail.

Link to Hospital Besar Kuala Lumpur, formerly District Hospital Kuala Lumpur before 1962.