Hundreds of KPPS personnel pass away; Doctor ensures no one can die of exhaustion

Dr. Umar Zein, Lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine, North Sumatra Islamic University. (photo:

IO, Jakarta – The 2019 elections has become an event for mourning. In the history of general elections in Indonesia, only now have hundreds of people passed away working for the elections, starting from Voting Organizers Group (KPPS), Supervisory Committee (Panwas), to police personnel. In the latest data collected by the Independent Observer, almost 600 personnel have died.

North Sumatra Islamic University Professional Doctor Department of the faculty of Medicine Dr. Umar Zein in a discussion with the Independent Observer explained that in the medical wold there was no such thing as death resulting from exhaustion. “Exhaustion might be a trigger to an acute disorder or exacerbate a chronic disease suffered. However, once more, this needs proof through thorough medical examination,” said the doctor.

The doctor also explained that during colonialism under the Netherlands, many forced laborers were made to construct the Anyer-Panurakan roadway. They were forced to make ditches, break through mountains, and carry the materials needed.

“They worked night and day without certain times for rest and to eat. Well, that’s forced labor. They were certainly exhausted and did not receive enough nutrition, were thirsty, hungry causing their bodies’ endurance to weaken, and finally fall sick. Many suffered tropical malaria, convulsions, coma, and then died,” said Umar Zein.

Meanwhile, a different condition was experienced by the election personnel in the voting stations and other places, according to Umar Zein. “They received enough food and drink, were not forced labor, there were breaks even though they took turns, they could go if there was an emergency,” he continued.

“Exhaustion cannot directly cause death. There are three ‘doors’ to death; the brain, the heart and the lungs. If the brain does not receive enough oxygen as a result of various circumstances, for instance because of blockages in the blood vessels, then the brain cells will die. But patients do not immediately die. There are compensation mechanisms to keep other cells alive. Even death of the brain stem is called medical death. It needs a few hours for it to be biological death, after the heart and lungs stop functioning,” said the doctor.

Umar asserted that heart failure, kidney failure, and liver failure all did not cause immediate death, but rather put the patient into coma for a few days or more.

The doctor explained that the exhaustion of the election personnel was no more than one one thousand of that experienced by forced laborers in the times of colonialism by the Netherlands. Exhaustion could be a trigger for acute disorders or exacerbate already present chronic diseases, however.

“This needs proof through thorough medical examinations. Then, why is it being spread in the media that many election personnel are dying from exhaustion? This is a fooling of the layman or people who do not understand medical science, or have little medical knowledge,” he explained.

“The cause of death isn’t so simple. Sudden death medically, is the result of processes in the heart, lungs, or brain or a combination,” he explained.

Umar concluded that the “honestly” of the hospitals concerning the cause of death was important in publishing recommendation in the medical academic world on how to stop the election disaster from happening again. “New recommendations will appear if published if there is an investigation on the issue,” said the doctor. (dsy)