This article is a public service announcement to patients, potential patients and relatives of patients. Have a good read. Please, we doctors also have feelings.
1. Not knowing medications
This very commonly happen. Please please please do not think once you come to the hospital, we’d know what medication to give you. We want to know your history, we want to know you as a person. We don’t want to overdose or undertreat you. Please take interest in yourself and your health. If the medicines are hard for you to memorize, please bring the prescription list or bring the medications and present it to the doctors attending you. We are treating you as humans, not as diseases. If we treat you like diseases, we’d give some antibiotics and go home, won’t care about your 10 years history of diabetis, hypertension and heart disease.
2. Come in late at night
It’s fair enough if you are very sick or got sick so suddenly. But if you’ve been sick for three or five or seven days, why the hell would you come in at night? It’s not just about adding works or disturbing our sleep, but also there’s no specialist at night to supervise us. HOs might be extremely-drowsy interviewing, examining or prescribing your medications but no one cares because its 3am. Plus, discharges are done in the morning and afternoon. Beds are more available that time. Come in at night, you might be sleeping on a chair, hard trolley, small canvas by the corridor while waiting coming morning for discharges. Even if there are beds, the annoyed nurses may not give you the comfy beds with the reason “reserved for the sicker ones”. Do you really want that when you are sick?
3. Language barrier
In peds and surgery, I do not mind this problem. But in medical, I do. Houseman who speak Tamil or Chinese are not always available (in medical everyone is busy). So, you have no choice but to have me as a doctor. Come on la, if you cannot speak Malay or English, please la ask your family members who can to accompany you. I can say simple words like “berak” “kencing” “makan” “nafas” in some languages, but if you expect a Tamil or Chinese doctor to replace me is not 1Malaysia lah.
4. Non-compliance and default
Your non-compliance to your own meds adds to our workload. Once you get uncontrolled diabetis or uncontrolled hypertension, they will admit you to the ward, we have to optimize your blood pressure and blood sugar (which can be done at home if you are compliant to medications), then you deprive the sicker ones of the bed they so needed. Although the medications are cheap or free, please la dont take them for granted. And please do not default follow up. Follow ups are important to see progression, regression, trends of your disease, to intervene if needed, planning further management, supplying you with medications. It’s not just simply making you taking a day off work. If you do not come to appoinment on supposed date, you deprive the rights of the patients who are willing to be followed up earlier.
5. Want to go home
It’s very annoying when you just come into the ward and you start asking when can you go home. Often my answer is “we see how’s your progress first”. Or if I am in a bad mood I’d say “you are gonna stay here for a very very long time”. It’s not that we don’t want to discharge you home, but we haven’t finish treating you just yet. Yes I understand it’s depressing to be in the ward full of sick sometimes crazy people, not able to work, not able to spend time with family, but we doctors are just not confident to send you home yet. If we’re confident you are going to be fine, we’d discharge you so that we can give the beds for sick patients. Every patient is a big work for all of us doctors. Plus, we dont want you to stay long in the ward, because once you acquire hospital infection, you’d be much sicker than you came in and it’s harder to treat.
Please, please, please, visiting hours only. We have visiting hours for a reason. Your family and friends cannot come in the morning because we are busy doing rounds and formulating plans to treat you. Cannot come at night because it disturbs other patient’s resting time. The wards are small, crowded and stuffy. Visitors exceeding visiting hours are just slowing doctors and nurses doing work. And as visitors, please respect us who run the ward. You shouting at us won’t do your sick relative any good. We don’t call security or police because we are treating you the worried relatives with dignity (by right we can call police). So please treat us the healthcare personnels with respect.
7. Traditional medicine
Most Malays prefer to go kampung and prefer to be treated traditionally (berubat cara kampung @ “berikhtiar”). This usually happens when involving LP (lumbar puncture) aka draining fluid from the spine in acute patients and in case of cancer in chronic patients. Yes, it is scary if I have cancer or LP is indicated for me, but I do not think treating traditionally would make me better. It never will. Most of them will always come back for hospital treatment, and specialists will always be angry because wasting their time. So you read once or twice in Mastika or Utusan or Berita Harian that some LP made a huge paralysis. What about the other thousands which are successful and complication-free? And let me tell you about traditional medicine. Most of them have steroids! Do you think it’s easy to extract stuffs from some akar kayu? Hell no! They added steroids so that you feel good and energetic when you consume it, but very crappy when you stop taking it. Then comes the lethargy, dizziness, headache, puffy faces, swollen limbs, abdomen distended. Sometimes blood pressure shoots up to 240!! Yes I saw that in one patient taking homeopathic medicine. Yes, some of them have miraculous effect on you, but understand this, health and sickness come from God. And we doctors have sufficient data (from evidence-based medicine) to treat you like this and that, while traditional medicines dont (they claim they do, but where is it??). Traditional or modern medicines are never free from side effects, but doctors don’t lie about the side effects, but bomohs/sinsehs might.
You can say I have to “ikhlaskan niat jadi doktor”, stop complaining whatsoever. Dont give me that crap. This crap comes from patients being not cooperative with the doctors. The whole system collapse when patients don’t give a damn. By right, if patients don’t give a damn about their health, why should doctors care? That’s what a great surgeon say lah… 😛