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Art transforms into compassion

Cancerstory.com founder calls it a day
December 31, 2008 Wednesday
Cancerstory.com founder calls it a day
She quits website to write book on late dad's bad hospital experience
By Jessica Jaganathan
Ms Lee Soh Hong started cancer support website cancerstory.com after her mother lost her life to cancer. -- PHOTO: LEE SOH HONG
A POPULAR website which gives support to cancer patients will become inactive from the end of next week after its founder decided to give up volunteer work.

The site, www.cancerstory.com, has been operating for about eight years, and its founder, Ms Lee Soh Hong, has won two awards from Reader's Digest magazine for inspiring people. In its heyday, it attracted up to 1,000 hits a day.

But now, Ms Lee, 46, has decided not to continue, despite getting several e-mail messages each day from readers.

Ms Lee started the website after her 66-year-old mother lost her life to colon cancer in 1999.

The freelance consultant accountant was so devastated that she turned to volunteer work. She took up a course in website design, and this led to the development of cancerstory.com.

Over the years, the site has given advice to cancer patients and helped them form support networks. Ms Lee has also helped to raise funds for cancer charities and has worked to organise health talks for its patrons.

Ironically, Ms Lee's decision to quit the site arose because of the recent death of her father, Mr Lee Sai Hock, 76.

She claims that she is disappointed with the hospital care system here after witnessing what her father went through while warded at a public hospital.

She did not name the hospital, but said he was admitted after complaining of abdominal pain and fever in August.

He was warded for six weeks, and during this time, Ms Lee alleged that he was treated by more than 30 doctors and given three different diagnoses.

The official cause of his death was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - a disease of the lungs in which the airways become narrowed - and secondary sepsis, a bacterial infection in the blood which older people are more prone to.

Ms Lee also claims hospital doctors told her that her father contracted six different hospital superbugs - antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause infections and are a common problem in hospitals.

Now, she has decided to write a book about her father's experience in hospital, and will post it as the last entry on cancerstory.com soon.

When contacted by The Straits Times, the hospital declined to comment on Ms Lee's allegations.

In recent years, hospitals have stepped up their quality of care, though there are still complaints from patients.

A study commissioned by the Ministry of Health earlier this year showed that just over 75 per cent of patients were either satisfied or very satisfied last year, up from 71 per cent in 2006 and 69 per cent in 2005.

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