Monday, December 15, 2014

Why Govindan Had To Suffer

Govindan had his throat operated on for cancer of the voice box at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) in 2006. In 2010 the specialist there (now in private practice) told him he chose not to close the hole ("fistula") which caused Govindan years of misery. TTSH said the "graduated treatment plan" - keeping the hole open for 5 long years - allowed for flexibility if treatment should there be any relapse. Dr Song of Singapore General Hospital (SGH) begged to differ, "Since there are other means to detect cancer recurrence, performing fistula closure only after a 5-year cancer-free period is a relative contraindication." Thanks to Dr Song, Govindan can finally eat, drink and speak again.

This is not a note about medical science, or difference of professional approach. This is a note to self about the evil men can do.

Govindan taped the consultation session because he could not speak, and the doctor in question would not allow his wife or sons to be in attendance. Even allowing for transcription errors, this should ruin anyone's appetite:
"But it looks very good. You look perfect. Four months, four years. Perfect, perfect, but with a hole lah. Perfect with a hole."
Pause
"I can ask the plastic surgeon to see you. But the plastic surgeon here is not very good lah."
Pause
"Private, very expensive. Very expensive, OK. If you do in private, it would cost you, I would think, $50,000."
Pause
"Are you sure you got insurance? Your insurance will pay for private meh? For this? Are you sure will pay completely?"
Pause
"OK, you go and check with them. Because the one in TTSH, the private plastic surgeon I think is quite junior, he can't make it work.
"If you want to do it in private, er, it can be done. But you had better check that it's going to work. If you do it in Mount E, I tell you it will cost you at least $50,000."
Pause
"No, lah, if there was any other way, I would have closed, I would have told you already lah. It's just plastic surgery.
"OK, you're very good. You go and check your insurance and you come back to me. OK? You give me a call lah, OK?"

19 comments:

  1. Too bad he is not Minister Khaw who paid only $8/- for hid by-pass surgery. Nor is he SM Emeritus Goh who had his prostate operation within days of his examination. Such is life in this little red dot.

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  2. Thanks Tattler. Now I know how the word "cut-throat" originated. No wonder medical costs keep going up. The Hippocratic oath, like our National Pledge, is just an aspiration. The old fart's message is spreading - "What's wrong with collecting more money?"

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    Replies
    1. Sorry...it is not aspiration....to LKY and gang it is ASSpiration to them not for us...there fix it.

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  3. Medical care only if you can afford to pay. And pay.

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  4. Bullying, simple as that.
    because they can
    because they can afford any financial penalty.
    shaming does not help... they have thick hides remember?

    they need a good dose of votes against them... for 3 elections in a row... the 1st does was administered in 2011
    a booster shot is needed.

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  5. How the doctor can leave such a big hole in the patient for such a long period is really beyond simple national health care treatment ?

    And why the hell does he need to remind his patient not once but twice that any further private treatment can cost him S$50,000 whereas our ex-Cow Minister has to boast to us his heart operation cost him only S$8 ? What does this say about our PAP Ministers ?

    The way and manner he spoke, it looked like the original doctor was not at all interested in the health being of his patient but more keen looking forward to private practice ?

    No wonder they say subsidised patients are like waiting for death to come to them if their luck is no good.

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  6. I do hope some ministers with hearts will investigate this issue. It is not only disappointing but scary to think that reputable hospital can do such a thing and does not even feel ashame of their action. Instead, they continue to lie.

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  7. This is a case for disciplinary action, no?

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    Replies
    1. Don't kid yourself lah! You expect the SMC to take action against one of their own kind meh? They hired Alvin Yeo to go after Susan Lim for overbilling okay? And don't dream the minister of health will do anything about it lah!

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  8. Is it fair to say "In PAP's Singapore ... everybody wants to be a millionaire."

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    Replies
    1. According to a lawyer acting for a PAP politician;
      $5,000 is a derisory sum of money.

      So $50,000 is only equal to 10 "derisory"
      - derisory being the "official" PAP linked currency
      - very cheap lah

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  9. Sad reading this. What's happening to my land of birth? It looks like living hell for the commoners! Lucky we got Tatler to counter those evil greedy elites by exposing them. We will know what to do next when the time comes.

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    Replies
    1. if the cow gets another heart attack;
      i will say another $8 heart bypass is well worth the money.
      Let's hope he gets $80 worth.

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    2. Always talk money first before treatment. So for commoners, no money you die lah? Is this the PAP First World country Ah Loong boast about? That's the difference between other real First World countries and Singapore. Change we must.

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  10. Minister should direct SMC to hold a enquiry into this case .

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  11. Doctors who fail in their basic duty to communicate to their patients the treatment process, procedures, and options available are both unethical and unprofessional. When it happens in a general public hospital, one has to wonder what is the Ministry of Health's stand on the issue of a patient’s right to make informed decisions? Or maybe subsidised patients have no such right?

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  12. This makes for sad reading if the first doc is representative of our healthcare in our public hospitals.
    While the patient suffered for so long, the docs was making piles of $$ in private practice going by his attitude.
    Wonder if he pledge to the Hippocratic oath or the hypocratic one.

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  13. I am not a great fan of the MSM but on this story somebody did a great job. Wish they would do their jobs in the public interest without fear or favour all the time.

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  14. That someone is Salma Khalid, senior health correspondent. She had done a number of hard hitting health stories.

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