"I found your website while searching for health food for my mum. My mum was diagnosed with bile duct cancer. She is in a bad shape now because besides fighting against her primary cause, she has to tolerate the complications resulted from the 3 surgeries performed by a doctor from the government hospital. We have requested the so-called Quality Service Department to do an investigation. However, from the reply, we know that the doctor does not think that he has any responsibility at all and we have submitted our request for an external investigation to Singapore Medical Council. The cancer cells have affected my mum's bone and she is in pain every second. Due to the complications caused and her 5 months' prolonged stay in hospital, she has very poor appetite and her vomiting problem is very severe. It is a very long story and how can I share on your website?"
Update : We referred them to share their experience with the 'In-charge of Clinical Governance', and also to consult our voluntary lawyer as they are contemplating to institute a legal suit against the hospital.
These events rekindled my interest in getting doctors to save lives with greater compassion.
In February 2007, I shared my idea with a medical professor about the production of a comic book on lousy doctors, with an intention to bring about self-reflection and improvement of behaviour among doctors.
The comments given by the kind professor were as follows :
"Thanks for sharing your ideas. I suppose it is about the end in mind and making all purposes serve that end. Here the end in mind will be what exemplary behaviour that we want to see in doctors and promote these rather than the idea of name, blame, and shame. It is difficult to beat people into good behaviour. It is easier (I think) to get people to want to be good."
Hence, I dropped the idea.
After watching 'Patch Adams' for the second time, it moved me to tears. The show is very inspirational and heart-warming. With a strong belief that it might touch the hearts of some people, I came up with a new initiative, i.e., giving free DVDs on 'Patch Adams' to selected local hospitals. By sharing the show with the healthcare providers, I hope to plant the seed of compassion in them so that they will provide the best care to patients. Initially, I thought that it was a silly idea until I got affirmation from a medical school professor. He will use it to impart moral values and also to teach some communication skills to his medical students.
I reckon playing 'Patch Adams' DVD in orientation programmes for housemen, nurses and doctors in hospitals, will remind them to save lives with greater compassion.
Posted on 3 September 2007
'THE DOCTOR' - He Was A Doctor Who Thought He Knew It All, Until He Became A Patient.
In May 2008, a cancer survivor shared with me his lousy experience with his doctors and oncologists. I agree with him that we are losing our grip on humanity in our present materialistic society, resulting in a new breed of doctors, and a KPI-oriented healthcare system. I reckon playing 'Patch Adams' DVD in orientation programmes for housemen, nurses and doctors in hospitals, will remind them to save lives with greater compassion.
He dropped me the following note :
"You spoke about asking doctors to watch Patch Adams. Only now then do I recall that there is another movie made in the early 80's starring William Hurt that might be useful in re-awakening empathy & compassion in doctors. It is about a doctor who treats his patients badly. When he contracts cancer later, he finds himself at the receiving end and understands the travail of cancer patients.
I have a very nasty wish. I hope my medical oncologist go through the experience that William Hurt went through in the movie that I had mentioned to you. Maybe, that would cure him of his callous indifference!
Since my cancer recurrence in 2002, I have learnt never to trust doctors to take your interest at heart or to be totally professional in their work. Maybe the workload prevents them from being caring doctors. But whatever it is, don't depend too much on them.
I have come across really good doctors but they constitute such a minority. Probably, that is true across the board for all professions and for mankind in general."
Upon his recommendation, I bought the DVD on 'The Doctor', and sent a copy of it (together with the DVD on "Wit") to a kind and compassionate medical school professor so that he can share it with his students. This movie is great! Hopefully, the young medical students will learn a valuable lesson from it.
I would also recommend the DVD on "Wit" for doctors and medical students to understand the emotions of dying cancer patients.