Monday, April 27, 2009

Saravanan upset by ‘napping’ A & E doctors

The STAR online Monday April 27, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk M. Saravanan caught two doctors at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) emergency department doing their own thing instead of attending to patients waiting for treatment.

Saravanan made the discovery at about 10.30am yesterday when he went to the hospital to visit a university student who was knocked down by a car driven by his driver.

"I waited for a while for the girl to be treated and, realising that none of the patients were being called in by the doctors, I opened the door to the treatment room.

"I was shocked to find one doctor reading a newspaper and the other doing his own stuff.

"This should not be the way doctors work. The patient should come first. Furthermore, it is the emergency unit, which is supposed to be fast in dispensing treatment," an irked Saravanan told Bernama.

He said he reprimanded the doctors and demanded to see a superior who, he said, appeared after 30 minutes.

"After that, those waiting were promptly treated. This should not be the way government hospitals work," he said.

In Petaling Jaya, LEE YUK PENG reports that initial findings showed that the two doctors were housemen who had just completed their shift.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he would ask HKL for a report.

"I will investigate if such a thing happened. Let me check first," he said. "If the doctors are on duty and they do not treat patients, then it is negligence on their part,'' said Liow when contacted.

Meanwhile, HKL director Datuk Dr Zaininah Mohd Zain said the hospital would be the first to take action should there be any element of irresponsibility.

She said HKL's investigation showed that there were only eight patients and 20 relatives waiting for treatment and that none of the patients were in pain as stated by Saravanan.

HKL doctors, she said, were hard-working but added that they were human, too. Reading a newspaper in the doctor's room should not be interpreted as a sign of irresponsibility, she told Bernama.

Dr Zaininah said the emergency department managed 550 cases a day and was served by six medical officers in eight-hour shifts with one specialist, one consultant and one (supervising) senior consultant.


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