Thursday, September 30, 2010

just one bag

last week, this 48-yr-old man was admitted to hospital with a bleed in the brain. he had been referred from another private hospital in another state that didn't have neurosurgical services. the nearest govt hospital with that service is 150km away. 

when he came, he was already unconscious & had a tube inserted into his windpipe to assist breathing. he was wheeled into the OT after the initial CT scan & the blot clot removed. however, the brain damage initially sustained from the bleed will be permanent. previously, he had hypertension that was not well-controlled.

when he was sent to ICU after surgery, the wife accompanied him. it was already 4 am. what touched me most was that, all she had with her was just one bag.

presumably, that's all she could pack in the short time between transfer from one hospital to another. can you imagine what it's like to live on just one bag? presumably, she would have to go back home after a few days for change of clothing & see to her kids. maybe also to draw more cash.

it does sadden me a bit when the govt couldn't provide essential medical services in the big towns & patients have to be shunted from hospital to hospital for treatment. especially when billions are spent on submarines (that will unlikely see combat) & a controversial hydro-electric dam (that is currently being treated like an orphan).

today, we just certified this man brain-dead. that means, even though his heart is still beating & blood is flowing through his body, his brain has permanently ceased to function. his wife will take him home this evening.

on another sad note, my son's piano teacher just passed away last week after suffering from a similar bleed in the brain. she also had uncontrolled hypertension. (read here)

may their souls rest in peace.

well, we can't change govt policies but what we can do is to better take care of our health before it deteriorates. go for that medical check-up, esp if you're over 50. include an endoscope, ECG  & (for women) a pap smear.

you don't really want your spouse to accompany you to hospital with just one bag.


JoMel said...

Oh dear.. very sad. My condolences.

You're right though... had the hospital in his hometown been adequate to treat him the moment he was warded.... A lot of time was wasted. Very sad. The government should really get down to basics!

doc said...


that's one big advantage about living in KL/PJ - you have EVERYTHING and more!

Yvonne Foong said...

If the patient received treatment sooner, could his chances been better?

My mom has high blood pressure and she feels overwhelmed easily, especially since she is already 61. When Dad was hospitalized in March - April 2010, mom was concerned that he will be unable to walk after being discharged so she shared her concern with a friend of ours. Her concern was that her husband might become immobile and she will have much more difficulty taking care of him and me as well. Especially when she has high blood pressure. So she had the idea of placing my dad in a Home but I felt that won't be viable because we can't afford it and Dad will feel terrible without us around. Now I have another idea. I will see how dad is when he gets discharged from hospital this time and if needed, I want to look into how we can afford a maid at home to lighten mom's burden. It might be worth looking into. I don't want to be taking her to the hospital with just one bag.

Adino said...

I felt very sad reading this story. I suspect a lot of similar cases happen daily but are not highlighted.

Unicorn Girl said...

My heart goes out to the loved ones of these people .

Any advice as to how we can lead a stress free and health free damages around us ? I have been cautious about the food that I consumed - especially if they are not home cooked .

doc said...


if he had received treatment earlier, his chances of recovery would have been definitely much better. but it was about 6 hours from the time he fell unconscious to the time he had surgery.

yes, looking after aged & disabled parents is a difficult decision for some & i myself had my share of stress & anxiety.

if feasible, a maid in the house is a cheaper option. if only these maids come & try to earn an honest living, it would have been an easier decision to make.

doc said...


it happens all the time, not only in govt hospitals but private ones as well!!

doc said...


we can only do so much - the food we eat, the work we slave at & the relationships we cultivate.

the rest....we trust in God.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad. My heart goes out to them.

doc said...


thks for your concern.