The Cover Story of Ipoh Echo Issue 269 (Nov 1-15, 2017) was on the good and bad of public hospitals and I would like to share my good experience. I have been going to the Eye Clinic in Raja Permaisuri Hospital for more than eight years. Knowing well, that in spite of the appointment time given, I have to wait for a long time, I carry books and magazines to keep myself occupied. Most of the time I see the doctor before one o’clock, the lunch break. Only rarely do I see the doctor during lunch break and this happened during my last appointment about three months ago. I saw the doctor at about one thirty. The nurses leave for lunch at 1pm and the doctors are by themselves.
When I asked the two young lady doctors how they feel about being left alone, they said it was alright with them. They added that they are dealing with people and must attend to their needs. As doctors it is their duty to look after patients which is their main priority. They added that most of the time they have only about 15 minutes for their lunch and eat junk food. I saw a bun on the table of one of the doctors. That must have been her lunch. Though the bun was wrapped in plastic, personally I would hesitate to eat food kept in that environment.
On one occasion I saw a doctor who had lost her voice and could hardly speak. She was struggling to talk. She said sorry, but I felt sorry for her. I told her she must be on MC. She said due to shortage of doctors she had to work. Duty comes first.
Few years ago when I had an appointment at SOPD (what is this??) Clinic, I had to see the doctor after 1pm. There were two young male doctors. The first thing the doctor said to me was, “Uncle, sorry to keep you waiting”. I replied, “Doctor I am sorry for you and not for me.” When I asked the doctors what time they started work, they said 7.30am. They informed that they have to go to the wards after lunch. There was an opened packet of kacang putih on the table and the doctors must be munching in between seeing patients. Even at that time the doctors were cheerful and carried out their work happily.
These young promising doctors have the right frame of mind and when they took up medicine they knew what is expected of them.
On the other hand it is reported that about one thousand doctors doing housemanship had quit their job due to pressure. These people thought it was glamorous to be a doctor, but did not know what was expected of them. During the sixties I was staying with a doctor friend of mine who was doing housemanship. He would be called at midnight and return at 5am. He gets ready and goes to work as usual. This is the life of doctors who save lives.
People who are taking driving licence for motor cycles are taken to the orthopaedic ward in hospitals to see for themselves what happens in case of accident. Likewise, students who want to do medicine must be taken to hospitals to see for themselves what is expected of them. By doing so, probably only youngsters with the right calibre would take up medicine. This would provide opportunity for deserving students to be offered medical seats.
I hope the dedicated doctors I met would progress in their careers and wish they remain in government service and not quit because of the lure of money in the private sector.