Sep 8, 2010

Growing up is hard, at times

Silent Doctor strikes again. From the Opinion board of The Star newspaper.

Let docs be near family

MY SON has just completed his internship at a government hospital in the Klang Valley.

Upon completion of his internship, much to our dismay, he received a directive from the Health Ministry to report to East Malaysia within 30 days to continue his service as a doctor.

Appeal letters by my son requesting to be posted nearer to home seems to have fallen on deaf ears. As an aged father and a taxpayer, I would naturally prefer to have my children around me in my twilight years.

I am upset with the ministry for posting my son to a state situated so far away and would require air travel merely for visits. I have just suffered a heart attack and my doctors have told me that I am unfit for constant air travel in my current condition.

Further inquiries revealed that a large percentage of young doctors who are newly qualified from the Klang Valley have been posted to Sabah and Sarawak. Their appeals sometimes even with valid reasons have also fallen on deaf ears.

This trend worries me as these decisions often impact family dynamics and have implications far beyond merely moving one person away from his or her family.

While the ministry should be lauded for producing more capable young doctors and looking into the problem of shortages of doctors outside the Klang Valley, I believe these measures of sending all of our young newly qualified doctors out should be tempered with the realisation that these young people are someone’s husband, wife, son or daughter and they have duties beyond just serving their patients. I would like to appeal to the ministry to reconsider this strategy.

My son has worked hard as a junior doctor for the past two years with frequent lengthy night shifts, often with only a few hours of sleep or none at all.

The only thing these young doctors look forward to is being together with their family to have a meal during the weekends when they are off duty.

And the only way a family can get together on weekends is when they are working at least within the Klang Valley and are somewhere closer to home.

A move to send all these doctors to the two states for a further three to five years will render this impossible. I am sure other parents, whose sons or daughters are in a similar situation, feel the same way.

I also believe the choice of placement should be to some extent decided by our young doctors. A fair system of appeal should be in place where those with valid reasons should be given consideration. After all, it is also the duty of doctors to look after their aged parents, families and siblings too.

Bandar Sunway.

Not many can work near home

IN response to the recent letter “Let docs stay near to family,” I believe that every parent regards his or her offspring forever as children, no matter how old they are.

They love to have their children around them at all times.

However, the reality of life is different and whether they are engineers, architects or sales executives, their children’s careers take them away from family – some nearer, some farther.

My friends of different professions from the Klang Valley have their careers all built up in other states like Penang, Johor and Sabah and Sarawak.

Some were sent by their companies to work and train in other countries such as Australia, the United States, China or Arabia for long periods. It is a norm, rather than an exception.

If one decides to stay near his family, one should seriously consider a change of career or start a business close to home.

The shortage of doctors in Sabah and Sarawak is real and at times, heartbreakingly appalling.

The presence of the writer’s doctor son in these states may deprive him of a few weekends with his son, but his time with his parents may deprive some families of ever seeing their loved ones again if there is a heart attack and a lack of doctors to save the patient.

The complaint about working hard in lengthy night shifts may probably gain some sympathy, but the situation has changed greatly.

With the boom in medical schools, we are actually overloaded with interns, especially in the Klang Valley.

We used to have in the best of scenario, just one intern looking after four to six patients.

Now it is two to three interns to a patient.

Their night shifts are much lighter now as five interns are being put up to do duty that can be easily done by two.

Furthermore, the Health Ministry has also set regulations requiring anyone doing night shift to be given a day off the following day.

Sufficient rest is never a question, unless there are other activities that tires the individual down.


Sg Petani.

No time, really to write long. On call on and off, on and off on Raya.

For the young doctor, I think he has a lot of 'growing up' to do.
Even letter also have to be written by dad.

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