Thursday, June 04, 2009


18 months ago

Quite often we hear horror hospital stories, on how patients were treated rudely, negligence, made to wait long, and the list goes. From newspaper to blogs, people sensationalized issues.

But, how many of us heard stories about rude and ungrateful patients?

No doubt, they are sick; they deserve good treatments, they are government servant, they pay taxes too and they think the government dog doc owe them all.

Being in the government service for so long, I have come across quite a number of these ungrateful patients, though most of them were well-to-do and educated; there were some who were actually poor and illiterate.

My mother used to relate how herself had to endure a lot of humiliation because she never attended school and hardly speak a good sentence of the national language.

She therefore vowed to send all her children to the national school, so that they learn the national and international languages well; so that they can stand up for themselves and never again been looked down.

She related how, in the 1970s, the government hospital staffs, particularly nurses, treated her badly just because she doesn't speak BM. Although she doesn't speak the language well, she did understand human's emotion.

She related how, been poor and illiterate, she had to just swallow whatever hurtful words people threw to her.

When she was pregnant with the third child at 38 years old, she was pressured to abort the fetus because people were sceptic she could raise more children because of poverty. Without knowing where to sort help, she went to the 'sinseh' and had a few courses of abortive herbals. However, the fetus did not abort, but developed into a healthy and beautiful baby, fortunately without physical abnormality.

Been poor, she had no choice but to deliver in the government hospital. She lamented how the nurses treated her so rudely and how bad and shoddy the episiotomy wound been repaired, all these because she was illiterate.

Immediately post-partum, she was literally 'forced' to have BTL done, and she would never forget those painful moment when the surgery was done under local anaesthetsia only. So, what could she do, other than having need to bite the root of her tongue tightly?

Being a government doctor now, I have always maintain the hippocratic oath that I shall treat all my patients fairly without any prejudice and especially being racist.

Some of the patients who don't speak the national language told me, how fortunate that they had consulted me because we could communicate in our own language and thus understand each other better.

There was a patient, been racist I thought, told me that we should treat our own race better as they don't get satisfactory treatment when they were seen by practitioners of other races because they don't speak the same language well.

So, I thought this sounded partly true also when I think back about my mother.

Today, I saw an old lady with her son, who looked quite shabby and had struggled to communicate with the nurse earlier because they don't speak BM well.

She has been seen a few times in the clinic for some chronic disease, but each time, nobody even bother to investigate the cause of her condition. Even though the queue was long today, I took the 5 minutes of kindness trying to explain to her regarding the need of some blood investigations.

Not only she and her son were not grateful of my time and concern, she told me rather sarcastically to keep to my area of function, that was to just continue prescribing the same medications.

Fine, I was wrong, these patients hinted to me that I shall not be so kind after all.

One may think I had really failed in my communication skill, but heck, I spent my precious 5 minutes trying to talk to these uneducated patients.

I felt very hurt.


A Member of Ex-USMCK Group said...

There are patients who always do not show appreciation when they were attended by a specialist, especially in government setting. I wonder how they will act when the government decided to implement full paying patients' policy. They will only learn to appreciate this when they need to pay for it..

Hanim said...

hear ye hear ye

fibrate said...

Don't let a few rotten people change your practice. The marginalised ones need our help! :)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, it's nurses again! They are also rude doctors around in Goverment hospitals and doctors that mis-manage a patient{i've experienced it}.CAN I BLAME ALL DOCTORS JUST BECAUSE OF THAT PARTICULAR ONE? Dont always "GET ON SOMEONE'S CASE"