While the political elites live the high life obtaining the best medical and health care treatment, Steven Grumach shares with us his experience at a government general hospital. Bear in mind that the Malaysian government spends only about 2 per cent of GDP on public health care. A big chunk of the money goes to privatised hospital support services and privatised drug procurement.

Steven writes:

On 31 December 2013, I had problems breathing and was admitted to the Seberang Jaya General Hospital. I was put in the critical zone (Red Zone) for treatment. It was at around 5.30pm that I was put there.

During this time I was told that certain tests needed to be done and later I was told that I had bacterial infection in my lungs. I was given an antibiotic and at the same time was put on oxygen, which I needed very badly. The tests went on with the taking of blood from my arm and artery to check my oxygen level. This was going on for a while.

After that, all was quiet. By this time it was already 10.30pm and it had been five hours in the red zone and I was getting hungry because I hadn’t taken my dinner. I asked the doctor in charge what time I would be sent to the ward.

I was told I would be sent at 11.00pm.

A nurse came and pushed my bed out from the red zone to the yellow zone. Here, I was wondering how long I would be kept here. It was already midnight and New Year 2014 had arrived. This time I had to ask the nurse how long they were going to keep me at this zone.

To my disappointment the nurse said she had misplaced my card and was searching for it.

I asked the doctor why it was taking so long to send patients to the ward.

The reply I got was, shortage of staff.

I couldn’t stand it anymore. I asked the doctor there when I would be sent to the ward. Finally they found my card and took me to Ward 5 at 12.45am.

Since I was on oxygen, I was confined to the bed and had problem urinating and passing motion. I asked the nurse for a urinal and a bed pan.

Sad to say, they told me that it was out of stock and just gave me a plastic container to urinate in. Luckily my wife was with me to help me out.

Now my question is, how come a big hospital like this doesn’t have enough apparatus for the patients’ needs?

I was put in Cubicle 1 for observation and on 4 January was pushed to Cubicle 2. My God, what a mess this cubicle was in. A cubicle meant for six beds was crammed with 11 beds, and patients and visitors had hardly room to move around.

When I enquired from the doctor why they had to put so many patients in one room, the answer I got was too many patients but not enough space to put the patients.

This caused much inconvenience for patients who had problem moving so that they could have privacy to change. Is this how the ministry says they are concerned about the rakyat, especially senior patients?

Finally, the day came for me to be discharged and I was told by the doctor that I needed to do a CT Scan on 9 January and a review on 16 January.

Since I had to be on oxygen-support for 24 hours, I asked the doctor if there would be oxygen supply for me to use at the respiratory clinic.

He said there would be none and I had to find my own oxygen supply.

This was really disappointing to hear. So I told the doctor I needed to contact higher authorities to inform them about this matter. The Seberang Jaya Hospital infrastructure is so bad that it needs immediate attention from the ministry to look into this.

I don’t blame the staff and the doctors; they are doing a good job caring for the patients, but sad to say the Health Ministry seems to close an eye to the inadequate infrastructure, staff and facilities.

On 29 January 2014, I had an appointment at the chest clinic at 8.30am, and I was told that there was no oxygen tank for me to use. I had to use my own tank, which could last only three hours.

Later I found out that the chest clinic is not equipped with oxygen tanks and a nebuliser machine. Well, my question is, what happens if a patient suddenly is in need of oxygen or gets an asthma attack?

Here I feel the Ministry needs to look into this problem for the benefit of the patients. As we know, most patients with breathing problems are senior citizens as I am also one of them in my early 60s now.

I hope in future when the government builds new hospitals, it will look into this matter and have proper equipment for the sake of the patients. It also needs to bring in more staff to cater for the increasing number of patients.

Source: stevengrumach.wordpress.com

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22 COMMENTS

  1. Did Steven Grumach MAKE AN OFFICIAL COMPLAINT.tHE LIKELY ANSWER is No.Thtas the problem with the patients in Malaysia.The general public have many portals to make complaints which the government has made provisions.Once a complaint is lodged,if genuine is investigated and recommendations are made so that nofuture events of thi snature exists.
    Many reasons could be asctribed. After 5 pm th ehospital is managed by junior doctors.probably they were not briefed ,there is a sister ,a matron ,secialist who on daily call allowance an dduty bound to ensure existing problems are dealt with .Should it be necessary,the Directors too are on call an davailable themselves of call allowance should be notified.
    To my knowledge,the hospitals are well staffed. The district hospitals which are now manned by specialists should take over the less serious cases to be manned by them and allow the tertiary hospitals to fend for emergency cases.
    The country health system is to be praised and not to be blamed,its the adminstrators who are not organised at state ,jhospital and district level who to take on this simple issue and addresss .
    I sthe public aware that the district hospital has only 40-50% occupancy while the Major hospital sby thier reluctance to mobilise this crowd9less emergency) to the district are overburdened which need not occur at all.
    The country an dnot th esysyem is to be blamed,Time for adminstrators at major hospitals to relook at their policies and perhaps the best outcome will probably be by privatising their servises .
    Th elackasidal attitude then will come to an end.

    • I believe Steven did highlight some of his concerns to his contacts in the Health Ministry.

      Anyway, he won’t be making anymore complaints. He passed away several months ago.

      We really should say no to more privatisation. It has already bled our public hospitals as it is.

  2. Better buy medical insurance if you find that the public hospital is not up to your expectation.

    Anil’s article should open the eyes of many who are taking their health for granted.

  3. Many kencing manis patients at local hospitals.
    Somehow higher sugar price of sugar have not detered people from taking sweetened teh tarik and extra-sweet kuih-muih!
    You can see many still buy F&N syrups and condesned milks to feed their sweet tooth! This is on top of the cholesterol-laden nasi lemak or nasi kandar!
    It is unfair for tax payers like me to subside the medical cost of such people!

  4. Besides big portion of medical budget goes to cronies, there is something that Malaysia refuse to face : unhealthy lifestyle and air pollution.
    Which according to World health organisation, smoking, lack of exercise,etc degrade one health. While air pollution will trigger arterial illness, all this increase the public medical bills.
    Alas, lots of male public servant and uniform body are smoker, obesity , overweight, which exhaust the public health system than showing as example.

  5. In China, they have exercise facilities in public parks to help elderly to strengthen the bones, agile and in short in good health which is cheap than building hosiptals and infrastructures. Anyway, our health system is still predated to merdeka.

  6. Life ‘seems’ … miserable if one has not enough savings or sufficient income to live on.
    If you want good delicious food, you have to spend more.
    If you want good medicare, you have to be insured or spend like Michael Jackson.
    If you want bin chui lifestyle, you have to spend beyond means just to catch up with Joneses, more than the average Ah Beng can afford.
    If you want more friends, you also have to spend to network, to club, to win social friendship.
    All these add up to the already stressed life existence of modern cosmopolitan lifestyle.

    But as you get older, the one thing that is more precious than all the S-Eleven is your health.
    Nothing matters, whether you are rich in cosmopolitan cities or deep in the jungle with nothing:
    Enjoying good delicious food will not make one healthier, not even expensive supplements for life.
    Being insured millions or cared for by the best specialists won’t guarantee your recovery, survival or resurrection from death bed.
    Having the best of lifestyle materialistic icons like MercS300L will not relieve your deep depression.
    Even the ‘closest’ / ‘best’ of friends can disappear overnight when you are sick, broke or jobless.
    And all the money earned won’t guarantee a healthy long life if one cannot manage his health.

    Live in moderation for what truly matters to you, live by your developed principles, live for yourself (not for others’ expectation or social creeds or bin chui standards).

    And stay healthy plus knowing where is the red line of risking one’s health. Eg when to call it quit instead of adding more stress to existing work or pursuit. More money or better health?

    The reality of today’s socio-political environment is ‘apathetic’. Politicians are mostly snake-oil salesmen who can promise healing power from venomous snake shows no different from wayang kulit. Once the 4-yearly power is at hand, the so-called miraculous snake oil is as useless as MacDon’tNut cooking oil.

    There are those who insist with ‘go with the flow’ no matter what. Just take a hard look at the health insurance, pharmaceutical & health care industries for their greed-induced spiralling costs and you will sit up. Ultimately, you are the one to make the ‘right’ choices to live a contented, purposeful & fulfilled life with the ‘one true wealth’ no other can give, manipulate or take away from you. Your health matters most till you die.

  7. Steven should not complain that much considering that it is almost free and the service comparable to the private hospital. For those on high blood and diabetes they get free treatment and medicines for most of their life. It would cost them a bomb in the private hospital. I would say that the services of the staff especially the nurse and doctors are superb in most case. Many areas are now being upgraded with air condition.

    Why is it so much congested now is because many even those who are well off will go to the hospital and clinics because of the good services & free treatment compared to private hospital. This is an honest comment from me as I go to the govt hospital & clinic despite having a medical insurance card. Kevin comment, even in a private clinic or hospital you still have to wait but in the govt clinic your waiting times depend and sometimes its much much shorter than a private clinic. Frankly speaking I love those nurses in the govt hospital and clinic as I found them to be more polite than the private one.

    • Why cant Steven complain about the government hospital when it is lacking in equipment and facilities and also short of nursing staff?

      We need to complain so that federal may look into it, hopefully…

      I think it is not very nice of you to go to the govt clinic when you have a private medical card???

      • We criticize not for the sake of criticize. We oppose not for the sake of opposing. When it is good we said it is good, when it is lousy we said it is so. As for the lack of facilities I believed it is not so serious as made by some quarter. Much resources and money have been lost and wasted due to unnecessary actions by the opposition like rally and resignation of seats which could have been put to good use by the govt.

  8. One funny thing to share with all of you. Just less than a decade ago my cholesterol was so high that I was given drugs to keep it down. In the last few years I started taking Omega 3, drinks plenty of Oats
    plus has exercises almost 5 days a week. My cholesterol level dropped to a very healthy level , the amazing thing is I stopped taking the cholesterol pills completely for the last decade after I read an article that the cholesterol drugs are partially responsible for the loss of your memory.
    Just imagine taking the cholesterol reducing drugs was only keeping the build up of one’s cholesterol but without taking them and changing to a healthier diet and lifestyle instead is a far better option.

    • Manaukau, thank you very much for sharing, i think i will stop my mom’s cholesterol pills from now as her memory is going downhill.

      Many thanks again.

  9. Hani, abstaining this frying food and that with high cholesterol will make life miserable too. The motto is, everything in moderation !

  10. I suppose money is now spent to set up Klinik 1Malaysia.
    Better to stay healthy by abstaining from unhealthy oily fried food saturated with cholesterol and sweet drinks. Heart attack and Diabetes are killers!

  11. Well it is not just in the sebarang jaya hospital but in almost all public hospitals in Malaysia. Infrastructure and facilities are sorely inadequate. But on the positive side, Steven was wise enough to go to a public hospital for emergency treatment where medication and other vital treatment are given without delay. If he had gone to a private hospital he would first have to wait in queue and then he will be asked for an insurance card and a credit card for payment of RM 1000 deposit. If he didn’t have a credit card with him or RM 1000 in cash in hand then he would be told to leave. Even if he would die in 5 mins without treatment. That is how bad our private hospitals are.

    • My neighbour was rushed to pmc and her husband was asked whether he want to save his wife, and of course, he said yes, then pmc said paid Rm10,000.00 now… she died anyway, already in her 70s. So, the winner was the hospital !!!

      But sometimes i dont understand why people are so takut mati, they spend their whole lives savings to prolong their already miserable lives wire up their whole bodies to the machines just for few agonising months, to enrich the docs and hospitals…

      Yes, we must try to live a healthy life. Spend a bit more on organics if we are eating leafy veggies, and also exercise, walking is good enough exercise, and the rest leave it to God, the Almighty, the one who decides our time on earth.

      On the same note, not only private hospitals are sucking blood private colleges too, esp those medical colleges are mushrooming, and you wont believe we have the highest number of medical colleges in the world ???

      This country truly needs to be overhaul from top to bottom.

  12. There is only one answer to all the questions you may have, there is no budget for the things needed, period. How can a little more than one million tax payer monies be enough to look after 26 million people in the country, especially so much of the income is paying for the highly inflated budgets in the other ministries in the country ? What about the more than the 3 million Umno members on clutches and wheelchairs, how many of these 3 million Umno members are paying taxes when the actual tax payers are only a little more than 1 million ?

    This is only one of the problems Malaysia is now facing and the result of trying to import more people from the muslim countries without taking the need to build and expand the infrastructures that are needed to cater for the extra immigrants. These are the results of the need to keep you and your regime in Putrajaya.

    Malaysia is now only short in the country’s infrastructures like the hospitals, schools and polices, just to name a few examples, but also the need of the professionals to run these institutions. You must be mindful of all these short comings and there is nothing you can do to address them and may be is that why you formed Talent Corp to beg the immigrated professionals, with added incentives, to return to serve the country.
    Where do you start, the professionals or the infrastructures or the money needed to put in place these
    infrastructures ! You just do not have any one of these and will never ever over come them as long as you keep implementing the same policies you are doing ! Soon when the black gold has run dry who are you going to depend on, on the 3 million Umno members who are already on tongkats and wheelchairs, They are constantly asking for more and are now virtually demanding for bland cheques,that will no doubt be bounced.

    The country is now in surely on the path to become a country in a shamble and will become another nation in Africa and there is nothing you can do about it as long as you keep on with your policies to have them looked and run after by people with one colour of the skin and not because of their ability.
    See what have you done to Malaysia after 57 under Umno ?

    • Please allow me to answer your last question, after 57 years under BN, the country now becomes S…, and yet we recently have one moronic reader urging the pg people to vote back Gerakan in the next GE…

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