Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I always believe as doctors we should treat our patients as if they are our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters etc. When we do that, then we know we are not mistreating people based on their gender, race, wealth or position. In this country, many people only see status and treat people only based on that. Some people bend their backs to please some Datuk, Tan Sri or Tun BUT would not pay attention to the normal people on the street. Isn't that so sad?

This shouldn't happen in the health service, especially in government hospitals. Even if a person is a VIP he should get the same service as any other person. They should wait in line for their turn and not demand special attention just because of who they are. Mind you, for the 10 years I have been in government service I have met a lot of crappy so-called VIPs BUT I have met also so many Datuks, Datins and Tan Sris who are genuinely nice people and never demand anything special. They are ever so grateful even to us lowly house-officers. Demanding people should go to private doctors and not harp on how sub-standard the service when they only pay RM5 to see a specialist.

Anyway, sometime the fault lies at the service providers themselves. People are so awed at titles that they forget their duties and responsibilities. They go all out to please the VIPs. I was a medical officer in HKL when I was called to review an 'end-stage renal failure' patient who had infection of his great toe. The elderly gentleman was such a nice fella, I spoke to him with respect and addressed him as uncle. However, the ward sister was so distressed with this. She kept mentioning to me that this 'Uncle' was in fact a Datuk and should be addressed as such. She was not really bothered about the treatment. Well, being me, I told her to *&^% off.

After that I had a good relation with this uncle. I took care of him till his wounds were better and he was able to go home. About a year after that, his wife came around the clinic to look for me. The old man had passed away and she wanted me to know. Apparently, he used to tell his wife how well I treated him and how he thinks of me like a daughter. When I heard this I was so elated. That is the best compliment a person has ever given me.

Why am I rambling on about this? Well, it is because I am annoyed. I am annoyed because my friend's father-in-law was admitted to the hospital and in my personal view he was not given the best treatment. Mind you, my friend is also a specialist (in the same hospital and ward) and to avoid conflict of interest he decided to stay out of the way of the other doctors. However this resulted in sub-standard care given to this gentleman (would not elaborate further on this, but trust me it is). Gosh, if this is the way the doctors treat one of their own I wonder how they treat the Apak, pakcik, makcik, ah soh out there.

Or perhaps this is exactly how they treat their own family?

p.s. the government's doctor factory is now busy churning out doctors to meet their 1 doctor per 4000 people quota. I wonder what quality of doctors would that be. We need more people with compassion but lately many of the young doctor lack such quality. Alas, there is no entrance exams to gauge compassion.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Government Slave

It has been a month since I last blogged. Actually, I wrote a few entries but decided not to post it. These are matters (mainly complaints) that may offend other people so nah... I decided not to.

Anyway, a few things have been on my mind for the past month. The first is my youngest brother upcoming wedding at the end of the month. Loads of things to do and prepare. So little time.

The next is the Government's option for its employees to opt for the Pension scheme instead of KWSP. The dateline is next Monday, I have to make a decision.

I think I am almost 95% certain of my decision. After I signed for KWSP only I realise the implications of it. I remember at that time, the clerk in-charge was so happy to persuade us to sign for the KWSP option, and being naive I did so. Later did I found out that opting for the pension causes less paperwork for the clerk, duh. Anyway, at that time I was concerned with whether I would stay with the Government for life. I was actually worried if I was pushed around here and there at the whims and fancy of some clerks (really, KKM is run by clerks who have no sympathy for people) and also if I don't like the office politics. That may push me to resign and thus 'nil' savings if I was in the pension scheme.

What have changed since then? Nothing much really. The concerns are still there but I am looking at a different perspective. Right now I am more concerned about long term health care. At the age of 56 (when I retire) I would have no health benefits if I am still under the KWSP scheme. If I needed a bypass or and angiogram (touch wood) in IJN perhaps, I would need to raise RM20000 for the surgery. That is provided I do not have any other complications. If I do, I am sure that would cause a serious dent in my savings and I may not enough funds for my retirement plans.

This is not just me but my family too, my husband and our future children. Aging people have more degenerative problems and diseases, it is fine to say now 'I AM HEALTHY' but we definitely do not know what is in the future. An unhealthy person is not just a liability in terms of health costs, they are usually not productive and thus, the disruption of their employment plans and cash flow.

It is a fact that healthcare is an expensive affair and it will be more so in the future as this country goes into managed healthcare. No amount of insurance can cover you for every eventualities - every coverage has its limits.

Anyway, the monthly pension is not really a deciding factor. As doctors, working after the pensionable age is very feasible (provided I am not senile) and thus I am sure I can find a job so not that worrisome. And, would I leave government service now or in the future? I guess maybe not; I enjoy my work, I am too lazy to suck up to patients, I love the 35 days leave I have per year and I am not a businesswoman.

I guess I would not have these thoughts if I married a fellow government servant (with the appropriate retirement plans i.e pension scheme). Hmmmm, perhaps should advise people looking for a future spouse to ask the questions "Kerja Gomen ke????" and then if positive "Pencen ke, KWSP??". Only after that proceed with the courting...