Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dancing With Dr Death

New Straits Times: Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009
Bungling US doctor charged in Australia.
When I read this news in NST and later read the event from major Australian online newpapers - I found some similarities with what happened here about 20 years back.
In the late 80th and early 90th, there used to be many expatriate (foreign) doctors in Malaysian hospitals employed by the goverment to overcome shortage of specialists in this country. Many of these people came here from countries which were generally 'poorer' than Malaysia. You can't expect doctors from UK or Australia to come here since their income in their home country is much higher than here. Since the salary we paid them was relatively low, we couldn't expect to get first class specialists. Bak kata pepatah: You give peanuts, you get monkeys ! Jadi ramailah yang datang ke sini buat-buat pandai, ada yang datang dengan 'blown-up CVs'. Ada seorang tu, dalam CV pernah buat lebih 1000 endoscopy, tapi bila pegang OGDScope, nampak sangat tak tahu!. Every thyroid operation, blood loss would be more than a litre. I still remember very well; few medical officers 'diverting' cases to other surgeons whom they believed were more competent. I have assisted a surgeon doing esophagectomy - after the surgery I thanked him for allowing me assisting him although I was not in his team; I said "thanks sir, this is my first esophagectomy", he said "thanks to you, this is also my first, I choose you because I saw you opened a chest before". Laa, patutlah dia sungguh-sungguh suruh aku belah dada kawan tu!
I believe those era has long gone; we are now having many capable doctors. Some of our hospitals are the best in the region; for example the IJN. But recently the cycle might have come back. With prosperity, more private hospitals were opened. More specialists moved from the public to the private sector, leaving the public hospitals short of senior doctors. Again the vacancies are filled with foreigners.
Janganlah pisang berbuah dua kali...... The goverment mungkin perlu ingat .... you give peanuts, you get monkeys. Sorry !

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