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ST Forum

ST Forum
June 21, 2007 Thursday
Good thing she didn't listen to hospital guard

ON SATURDAY, I encountered a Cisco guard based in the Singapore General Hospital's Resuscitation and Critical Care Unit who failed to carry out his duty with a human touch.

While my dad was on a nebuliser, the guard came and demanded that I leave him.

I refused to go as I could not bear to leave my dad alone to cope with the sudden attack of breathlessness. Within seconds, the nebuliser container got disconnected from the face mask. My dad was trembling very badly and I had to fix it back for him.

The guard witnessed the incident, yet insisted that I had to leave.

A couple accompanying an elderly patient saw the whole incident. They felt sorry for me and my dad. The kind man came over to plead with the guard but was told to stay out of it.

Next, his wife tried to reason it out with him, but failed as well.

The guard ordered one of them to leave. The man sighed and said: 'This is not a bank. Education has failed.'

I remained undaunted. I told the guard that he was causing distress to my dad who was still gasping for breath.

It was a stressful moment for my dad. He could not understand why the guard failed to recognise the importance of family care and support during such crucial moments, when the medical staff was not present to help him.

I could not imagine what would have happened to my dad if I was not around to fix back the container that had dropped off from the face mask.

Caregivers should remain calm in such situations. Hospital personnel like the guard have no right to stop us from giving care and support to our loved ones.

Lee Soh Hong (Miss)


I could not imagine what would have happened to my dad if I was not around to fix back the container that had dropped off from the face mask.

A worthwhile effort

In reply to my letter - "Good thing she didn't listen to hospital guard" published in the ST Forum on 21 June 2007, SGH's Chief Operating Officer wrote to ST Forum on 23 June 2007 - "Crowd control frees staff for emergency care".

My letter in ST Forum attracted 25 comments in the ST Discussion Board.

After reading SGH's reply in the ST Forum, I wrote the following letter directly to their Chief Operating Officer :

I refer to your letter published in the Straits Times Forum on 23 June 2007.

If selected next-of-kin are only allowed into the critical-care area, logically, there should be no crowd to hinder the work of medical personnel.

If there is a crowd, it is likely to be outside the critical-care area. Hence the Cisco guards should be based at the entrance to stop unauthorized personnel from entering into the critical-care area. Clearly, those who are already inside the critical-care area, have good reasons to be there.

I would also like to share the article on "Lean Thinking in Healthcare" on page 27 of the enclosed magazine. SGH must strive harder to live up to its slogan - "Where Patients Deserve The Best Care".

The Good News :

I am happy to learn that my feedback did not fall onto deaf ears. In their letter of 3 July 2007, I quote the following :

"As a result of your suggestion, we have now deployed our security officers at the entrance of the critical care area as an added measure to facilitate crowd control.

We are now in the midst of upgrading our A&E and in our redesign of the facility we have used LEAN approaches to incorporate features that will enhance patient flow and experience."

Posted on 13 July 2007

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