Tuesday, April 27, 2010

your money or your life?

it's strange how we misplace our priorities .

the lady came from indonesia with her 15-yr-old daughter who has had abdominal pain for several days. the ultrasound revealed a mass on the right side with fluid in the abdominal cavity, suggesting an infected appendix that had ruptured. despite the severity of the condition, the lady bargained & haggled over the price of surgery.

by the time the operation was performed after a day's delibration, pus had already contaminated the abdomen & the girl had developed early sepsis (generalised infection). her kidneys had begun to under-perform & who knows what else will fail in due time.

perhaps the mother shouldn't be faulted for the delay. after all, some doctors have been known to be scalpel-happy & eager to operate at the slightest hint.

for her & her daughter's sake, i hope all it wasn't all in vain.

18 comments:

wenn said...

life first!

iml said...

If the mother knew the grave repercussion of the delay would she had haggled?

ilene said...

DOC, money issue IS a big problem when it comes to private hospitals. What happens if the family is unable to pay for the hospital bills thereafter?

Probably the mother thought, by bringing her daughter into the private hospital first she'll be accorded cursory treatment expeditiously and with the given prognosis, can go to a government hospital for further action. Little was she prepared for a magnitude of this size.

I always wonder why do private hospitals charge such exhorbitant fees on treatment and misc. I'm not querying on the doctors' fees as I find them reasonable but what I'm appalled with is the charges on 1 small piece of plaster (RM10.00), cotton wool (RM5.00), 1 pair of surgical gloves (RM20.00), nail polish remover (RM50.00)and the list goes on!

It's a no wonder people say, "If you got money, you'll be saved"!

Mei Teng said...

Life first..but then when people are desperately short of $$$....they may delay going ahead with surgery. Surgery fees are sky high these days.

doc said...

Wenn,

true, although sometimes in difficult circumstances, money takes precedence.

doc said...

Iml,

i didn't think the mother knew the actual condition of her daughter. if she knew the child COULD have died, she would have consented to the surgery on that day itself.

Anonymous said...

Ilene,

the issue of payment is a tedious one, & that's why some hosps have credit officers who assist patients who have difficulty settling the bill, eg. staggered payment.

the mother would have committed a grave error of judgement if she thinks getting a diagnosis at a private hosp will facilitate treatment at a govt hosp. the daughter would have been subjected to another battery of tests & investigations at the latter, & then another delay before surgery.

the doctors' fees are guided by an accepted schedule of fees, which i also think is reasonable for the amount of work done. but the hospital portion is another matter altogether. there's no limit to what they can charge & market forces dictate the quantum.

you see, the hosp have to pay, among others, the smiling receptionist dressed smartly at the front counter in the well-designed & furnished lobby.

that's why a tablet of panadol costs RM2 here & 20sen at 7-11.

doc said...

Mei Teng,

that's the sad truth about our healthcare. we need more hospitals than submarines or space programs.

missyc said...

God knows how the girl suffered because of $$$.

For me Life 1st. If one chose to be treated at private hospital be prepared for eventualities. A friend confided his stubborn mule of a father who had stroke 3x insist to be admitted at private hospital. My poor friend had to withdraw from EPF to settle bill while his other richer siblings refused to pay their part. Sad part is his old stubborn dad refuses to heed doc/family advice to take care his health. Money or Life, sonetimes I think depends on the situation.

RM50 for nail polish remover in the hospital bill? Huh,I won't pay!

doc said...

Missyc,

yes, the girl suffered though no fault of her own.

yes, i think it's a waste of resources to have private medical treatment yet do nothing beneficial for one's own health.

and no, i didn't know private hospitals keep nail polishers in stock!! or, was that a spa??

Adino said...

How did it turn out? Is the girl recovering?

ilene said...

Missyc and DOC, I myself was just as surprised to find that the hospital came equipped with nail polish removers!! hahaha... It seems there are patients who arrived with painted nails, like me, which is a big "no" in the operating theater. I don't know whether there is such a ruling or not but the reason given to me by the nurse was because they need to see the color of my nails in the event of a mishap. I did protest but eventually caved in! But, had I known that I would be billed RM50!!!! ... hmmm ... (Insurance doesn't cover this you know)!

doc said...

Adino,

the girl is recovering well - i could tell from her smile when i spoke to her today.

will have an update soon.

doc said...

Ilene,

it's true. in the OT, a pulse oximeter is placed on one of the patient's fingers. this device measures the %age of oxygen in the blood & it's reading can be affected by nail polish.

so now, you know....

ilene said...

Thanks DOC! Day by day, I'm learning a lot of the medical stuff!! Should have joined that profession instead! hehehe....

doc said...

Ilene,

the pleasure is all mine!

Unicorn Girl said...

Praise the Lord that she's well ! now that's the most important thing - rite ?

doc said...

UG,

yes, PTL! she lives!