A personal bad experience with healthcare provider
I am disappointed with the hospital mismanagement of my mother's illness and had written to them with the intention to highlight the doctors' negligence and send across the message of not repeating the same mistake on other cancer patients. Needless to say, they refused to admit mismanagement. I was even more frustrated when my mother's friend told me that her medical oncologist ignored her complaint about numbness in her hands. One month later in late January 2000, she collapsed at home and was admitted to hospital for examination. Guess what! She had four tumours in her brain. I believe that her case and my mother's case were not isolated cases, there are many more cases but put simply, each of us does not have the resources to fight them out in court. Many of us would resign ourselves to fate since we cannot restore the lives of our loved ones.
My objective of filing a complaint against the hospitals is to benefit all other cancer patients. Unfortunately, the hospitals and doctors refused to admit their poor management and doctors' negligence. I could have pursued it further and lodged my complaint with the Singapore Medical Council but decided to drop the case for the following reasons :
From my observation, the consultation time allocated for each patient is relatively short and the oncologists rarely have adequate time to conduct proper assessments/examinations on the patients. Owing to time constraints, they are always in a hurry to move on to the next patient, thus leading to the dismissal/oversight of some obvious symptoms.
By chance, I spoke with an oncologist on 29 July 2000 at a Cancer Seminar. I shared with him my mother's bad experience with her oncologists. I was disappointed to learn that most doctors have the mindset that the lives of elderly patients are of less importance as compared to that of young patients. This question of priority also applies to elderly patients who are placed on emergency list for operations, as evidenced by my mother's experience. She was sent to the operating theatre on emergency list at about 9am but the operation only took place at about 2pm.
Precious time was also wasted looking for the missing headframe that was required for my mother's operation. We were also wrongly advised on the procedure. My late mother had to undergo a second operation to have a shunt. Yet with the shunt, it created an
immediate "vacuum" space, causing the brain tumour to burst that led to my mother's death.
- My mother would not wish to "break someone else's rice bowl" as she strongly believed that FATE had destined her treatment by such "cold-blooded" doctors.
- It might be a wiser choice to devote my time, effort and family funds to set up CancerStory.com that will probably be more beneficial to other cancer patients.
Therefore, you have to be more attentive and assertive in order to save your loved one's life if they are given the "least priority".