Wednesday, September 08, 2010

what if....?

this young lady was seen by a GP a month ago for some psychiatric disorder, possibly schizophrenia. however, she developed a febrile illness after that & was admitted to general hospital for a week without getting better, probably because the diagnosis couldn't be established. her mother took her out of hospital to seek treatment from a sinseh (traditional chinese medicine man) but she became unconscious at home that evening.

she was rushed to this private hospital & resuscitated.  my physician colleague did some blood tests & accurately made a diagnosis, which could explain why she had prolonged fever & why she fell unconscious at home. she was put on life-support machine in the ICU but failed to regain consciousness after a week. a CT scan of the brain revealed early brain damage.

a young lady will be bedridden for the rest of her life but a lot of questions remained unanswered.

what if......the GP had explained the side-effects of the anti-psychotic medication?

what if......the doctors at GH had made the right diagnosis & instituted the appropriate treatment early?

what if......she had remained at GH & had been immediately resuscitated when she fell unconscious? would that have prevented the brain damage?

given the current public uproar over our healthcare system, this post in NOT about whether govt hospitals or private hospitals are giving superior service. the former have received criticisms over substandard care, poorly trained doctors, long queues, etc. while the latter, escalating & hidden charges, unnecessary tests & procedures,  etc. (there's a private hospital in perak affectionately known among local circles as The Great White Shark for obvious reasons)

some time back, the Min of Health suggested co-operation between the public & private hospitals for the benefit of the people, but like all else, it's No Action, Talk Only. perhaps too much politicking during the recent party elections.

in the meantime, we await our uncertain fate.


Mei Teng said...

I hope something will be done to improve the public healthcare system in this country.

doc said...


only political will can improve things, & that can only happen when the politicians aren't too busy doing their own thing.

missyc said...

When things go wrong, What if isn't the correct diagnosis, yes no ? coz its too late. I've also learnt its of no use shouldering the burden of What ifs & simmering it within you. Doctors (in this case the GP/docs at public hospital) are humans, not God.

Coz I'm still trying to let go the What if that doc @private hospital could have seen what is coming instead of me having to deal with life uncertainties..sigh :( the what ifs *^%F&fff

ilene said...

There could never be co-operation between the public and the private hospitals. In the first place, why should there be? Each has their own 'agenda'. The Health Ministry should actually look into the attitudes of doctors and nurses especially in public hospitals and the reason why such behaviour exist. It's pointless to spend millions of ringgit in the most uptodate hi tech machines when they don't know how to read let alone use it! Which brings me to our education system. Oh DOC, I could go on and on rattling my frustrations. So sorry I have taken your space to do that! :)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Going to S'pore?

doc said...


i agree - "what if" means it's too late already.

can't fault the GH doctors because there are actually good ones there. in fact my physician colleague who made the right diagnosis was from GH until 2 years ago. perhaps it's the attitude when in govt service that's giving the public hosps a poor reputation.

doc said...


the govt is too busy issuing new licences for medical & nursing schools to bother about the doctors'/nurses' attitude & competency.

go on, feel free to vent your frustrations here....i'm all ears.

sending the daughter back to s'pore this sunday.

happy holidays!

Yvonne Foong said...

GP may prescribe anti-psychotic medications? I didn't know that!

I thought it's either we get a medical degree and specialize in psychiatry, or get a post doctoral degree after becoming a licensed clinical psychologist.

doc said...


that's the history that was obtained from the family. a GP should not be prescribing anti-psychotics.

JoMel said...

If you can afford it, you have a choice. If you can't, then you will truly be at the mercy of fate.

doc said...


this is big business for the insurance companies. as people become aware of its benefits, the increase in the number of policy-holders will benefit private hospitals as well.