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Friday, February 27, 2009

Hey doc, don’t ‘touch touch’ your female patients lah!

I HAVE a good friend who is a doctor. He operates his own clinic. He is a nice fellow, ever willing to lend a helping hand to the less fortunate. If his patients are too poor to pay for medication, he would not charge them. Whenever he is approached for donations, he would give generously.

But my friend has a dark secret.

There was a time when I started hearing complaints from his female patients that the doctor has ‘itchy’ hands and is a sex pervert. I did not believe the allegations against him. Why, surely it was not possible for this wonderful man to be doing those awful things to women in his clinic.

I remember one occasion when I confronted him over the complaint by one of his woman patients. He denied outright all the allegations against him. I believed him then — why not, he was a decent guy and I knew him all along as one.

It was only several years later that I found out the truth.

Later, I met a mutual lady friend. And was I shocked with what I heard when our conversation descended on our doctor friend. She was also his patient previously and the few times she went to his clinic for consultation, he would act in a manner not befitting that of a doctor. He would start caressing her arms and shoulder as if to give her a massage but that was unnecessary and not in tune with her ailment. Call it molest, seduction or whatever — that was certainly most unprofessional!

So now, I know all the complaints in the past against him were true. There was no reason for our lady friend to lie — it’s not a very nice thing to talk about too. But I’m glad she did. And I would end the subject about my doctor friend here for he’s suffering from a ‘sickness’ (or a fetish) and I have no intention to cause him more pain.

I brought up the misbehaviour of my doctor friend because I find it worrying to learn that at least five doctors are found to be suffering from mental illnesses every month in the country.

According to the director-general of Health, Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican, these doctors were either psychotic or neurotic but still managed to get into medical schools because these schools were not screening students meticulously enough.

“The mental cases range from psychotic to neurotic. Psychotic cases include delusions and hallucinations, and neurotic behaviour includes anxiety, fear and anger due to the competitive environment,” said Dr Ismail.

These medical graduates, totalling about 60 cases a year, are unable to cope with their housemanship as they may have been pressured by their parents to take up medicine.

About 2,000 medical doctors are registered annually from 21 local medical schools and 400 recognised schools overseas.

Most of the mentally ill students, he said, could have undergone pressure and depression while studying and faced difficulty in coping in a hospital environment.

Higher Education director-general Prof Datuk Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi said the ministry was currently reviewing universities’ curricula to ensure high standards in medical education and training for doctors.

“Uppermost on our minds will be the safety and well-being of patients,” he said.

The key words here are the ‘safety’ and ‘well-being’ of patients. When we bring people, be they our parents, children, wife or others, to see a doctor, we expect professional attention from him or her. Granted, there are good and bad doctors, the highly qualified and not-so-qualified, the skilful and not-so-skilful but as long as they are decent people and do not misbehave around their patients, I suppose we can say it’s okay-lah.

Doctors are also highly respected people — they are the intellectuals, the educated and the learned.

They stand out as the crème of the elite in our society who can even be called God-like because unlike a butcher who uses his knife to kill, surgeons use the knife in an entirely different manner to cut and give life to fellow humans who are ailing and suffering from various complications.

Doctors are governed by a strict code of professional ethics and the ordinary man and woman goes for consultations into their private rooms with implicit faith in them and on the premise that they are kind, courteous and even saintly.

But when doctors hide behind a professional uniform of a white coat and misbehaves and breaks the trust the public places on them, then they become liabilities to their dignified profession, Breaking the sacred code of ethics of the medical profession, the errant doctor simply allows the whole profession to stink to high heavens.

We know there are many such doctors around but to learn that there are at least five doctors found to be mentally unsound every month is not very comforting. One year, there will be 60 of them on the prowl, ten years 600 of them are on the loose. Surely, we are bound to cross path with one of them at one time or another. And mind you, the figures are only from medical personnel serving with the government. How many more of them are in private practice?

The same day, the Health D-G revealed the figures of mentally unstable doctors, there was a story of a 26-year-old nurse lodging a police report against an amorous doctor who molested her while they were alone together inside the X-ray room at a private hospital in George Town. See what I mean.

I think it is important for all to realise that if we are unable to take up the huge challenges of becoming a doctor, then I don’t think we should be in the profession.

Parents should also not force their children to take up medicine if they are not interested in it or show no inclination towards sharing their lives with the diseased, the sick and dying. It’s not actually difficult to be a doctor if you are academically sound but to live the life of a doctor and abide by its strict code of ethics ain’t easy.

I hope that apart from conducting psychiatric observation on potential doctors, the Health Ministry should also check if medical students could withstand the pressures of being a doctor. If not, they should be advised to turn to other vocations.

I think unprepared and unhappy doctors can be real weirdos who can turn into monsters or sex perverts particularly with patients of the opposite sex.

Many doctors will not take my statement kindly, I’m fully aware of that. However, isn’t it true that some of your colleagues in the medical profession do misbehave and had acted most unprofessionally at times. At least, I know one who did.


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Nothing Very Special, Just A normal person who seek for his bright future.