How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain
Never argue with an idiot, otherwise people won't know which one of you is the idiot.
Since light travels faster than sound, some people appears bright - until you hear them speak.

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan


Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Doctors with a poor grasp of English

I think sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Many years ago, in the 60s, we had faith in our local GP or any doctor in a hospital. We took their advice and prescriptions without any doubt about their qualifications or experience. I can still remember being told by our local GP that I was anaemic and given iron tablets, without any blood test, certainly not those comprehensive ones which we have today.

With the internet, everybody seems to know more than their doctors, or at least they appear to be so when they question them on specific opinions given. With more information on treatments available as well as news about doctors' mistakes in diagnosis or treatment, when in doubt many people seek second opinion. The mistakes, in terms of percentage of total treatment could be miniscule, but blown out of proportions because doctors generally are held in such high regard that they are assumed to be infallible.

But doctors are only human. They can be affected by personal problems too. Their knowledge depends on which university they graduated from, their practical experience exposed to in real life situations, as well as their continuing professional education. The standard of medical expertise is far from standard, because the standard of universities vary from low to very high. It also depends on the professors and medical equipment available at the time of study or training, and this depends on when a doctor graduated from the university. Then we have to consider the personal attributes of the doctor, whether he has the aptitude as well as passion to be one, instead of having pleased his or her parents in taking a medical course. In Chinese, doctors' wish to heal people is compared with that of parents in wishing for the well being of their child.

In the USA, doctors had been sued large sums in damages and compensation for their mistakes. This has led to some doctors refusing to attend to emergency cases in public. They refuse to identify themselves in order to avoid problems later. Some doctors even studied law to better prepare themselves in such eventualities!

We are used to doctors' illegible prescriptions. Now we have to contend with some who have poor grasp of English, which does not inspire confidence in their medical knowledge. Add to that, the possibility of miscommunication and meanings lost in translation, it can be risky when seeking medical treatment. By the way, for many years, I thought 'hati' means 'heart' in Malay, when in fact, means 'liver'. Just imagine a Chinese with 'sum thoong' told the doctor, 'hati saya sakit'.

Medical treatment is not equal, with majority queuing at government hospitals while those who can afford get specialists of their choice at private medical centres.

Let's just assume the importance of English in medical knowledge because most western medicine are written in English text, and this has been reinforced by the increasing use and reliance on information technology. Doctors who ignore English medical information will miss out on most of the recent advancement in treatment and discoveries. I must qualify this by stating that there are excellent medical research and reports in other languages like Chinese, Russian, Japanese and so on. But to our Malaysian medical graduates, they are not likely to be well versed in those languages, unless trained in those countries. China or Taiwan trained Malaysian doctors are likely to be better than say Russia or Japan trained if based on proficiency in language because those Malaysians are likely to have had Chinese education locally. In India, English is the medium of instruction. Doctors practising in Malaysia are professionally qualified within the country as well as from different countries, accredited by our Malaysian Medical Association. MMA decides who can practise medicine in Malaysia.

Our choice of medical treatment is basically between government and private, the former being cheapest but known for longer queues, while the latter can be had quicker if one is prepared to pay for it. There is also the option available for overseas treatment which is for those who can really afford it. For some, the unexpected astronomical costs could have made them bankrupt. This reminds me of a joke, 'The bad news is chemo can kill you before cancer does. The good news is the medical bills can kill you before chemo.'

There is a common complaint that if you are covered by medical insurance, the medical centres often charge double that of those without. One reason could be because insurance companies insist on at least a night's stay before an insured can claim from them. One specialist jokingly told a patient who asked, that he should think of it as being charged half the normal fee because he is paying as a private person instead of an insurance company!

Most times, our decision is also based on recommendation from relatives or friends who have had the experience of the treatments of various ailments in different hospitals. Well known specialists qualified from well known universities abroad are likely to be top on the list of choice, depending on affordability. Even those graduated from lesser universities but with extensive experience and exposure are well sought after.

In other words, medical treatments are not equal. It depends on affordability, qualification and experience of the doctor or specialist, medical equipment in the hospital, quality of supporting medical staff, and so on.

From stories heard from those who have relatives or friends who had underwent treatments in various hospitals, the success of treatment could be due to chance! The right diagnosis with the right treatment could ensure fast recovery. Mistakes leading to deaths had happened before, due to one or combination of different factors. Without proper examination and knowledge of the background of patient's medical history, wrong medication could lead to serious and even fatal consequences. Mistakes could happen simply due to carelessness or even lack of knowledge in treating a specific ailment. Some general practitioners are unwilling to admit their own limitations and only refer their patients to specialists until too late.

Just imagine, without the problem of lack of proficiency in English, medical treatment is already a minefield out there. Now, we can expect the additional problems relating to communication, as well as the lack of medical knowledge because some who did not deserve to qualify, probably did so. I think it is sound advice to seek a second opinion if there is any doubt about the first.

Link

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HI KOsong, may I humble DESi from FR join you at thy cafe, KOSong? no teh-c? IT's been "Longtime/dime NO C!" -- but todie I need to lighten up my blog, so seriouswan! So I'm borrowing TWO Of thy writes! < I Offer thee socialist BF At Babu stall in LObak, teh tarik at RM!, kuihmuih at 40sen each, nazi lemak at 70sen, my average cost RM3.20;CHeers, gOOd HEalth, drink PUerh tea if your writing can't afford thee the LUXury. YL, DEsi