Haematology @ Hospital Ampang: Malaysian healthcare at its best — Tan Min Ser

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MARCH 21 — Earlier this year, American-based expatriate magazine ‘International Living’ rated Malaysia’s healthcare system as the third best globally, outdoing countries such as Spain, Italy, Ireland and New Zealand.  The publication praised the expertise of Malaysian healthcare practitioners as "equal to or better than what it is in most Western countries".

I have experienced this fact first-hand, and would like to share my experience at one of the country’s leading haematology centres at Hospital Ampang.

In Feb 2013, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, a form of blood cancer.  I was under the care of Dato’ Dr Chang Kian Meng and a team of highly trained staff.  I underwent 4 rounds of intense chemotherapy in preparation for a bone marrow transplant in July 2013.  The procedure was successful, and I have begun my first steps on the road to recovery.  

It would be a modest statement to say that I owe a large part of my survival to the team at Hospital Ampang.  From the day we stepped in to the hospital, my family and I were impressed at the cordial treatment of the patients and the professional demeanour of the medical practitioners.  Everyone from the consultants and nursing staff to the admin and security personnel clearly understood their roles and responsibilities.

Hospital Ampang, and particularly the Haematology Department, is a remarkable testimony of how good leadership combined with a strong passionate team can achieve levels of excellence on par with international standards.  I have been to a number of private and government medical institutions in Malaysia and Singapore, and my experience at Hospital Ampang certainly is on par or even better than the best of them.

My family and I would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to the entire staff at the various haematology wards at Hospital Ampang.  There have been so many doctors and nurses that have looked over me over the course of 7 months, and I can regretfully only name a few here:  Datin Dr Aishah Ahmad Makinuddin as the Director of Hospital Ampang; Dato’ Dr Chang Kian Meng as the Head of the Haematology Department; Dr Muhd Zanapiah B Zakaria who supervised my bone marrow transplant; and Dr Jay Suriar, Dr Lim Teck Choon, Dr Jerome Tan Tsen Chuen, consultant haematologists who supervised my chemotherapy treatments.  They were assisted by a very dedicated team of Medical Officers, all of whom continue to serve the many patients every day.

I want to make special mention of the Nursing unit at the hospital, in particular all the sisters, senior and staff nurses at Wards 8B and 7D.  I will always remember the kindness and encouragement you showed me and my family, and how you kept us positive throughout the ordeal.

I would also like to thank Dr Mohd Haris Fadzillah and Datin Dr Sharmila Sachithanandan from Sime Darby Medical Centre who were instrumental in my swift initial diagnosis, a key factor in increasing the odds of combating the disease.

As a patient fighting a potentially terminal illness, the question of trust is always in the back of your mind.  My experience at the hands of Malaysia’s medical professionals has been one of pride; that our country hosts such great talent, calibre and commitment in its medical institutions.  I thank God for these men and women, who give of themselves daily so that others may have a second chance at life.

I sincerely hope quality healthcare will continue to be affordably accessible to all Malaysians.  Kudos to our Ministry of Health who boldly subsidizes up to 98 per cent of public healthcare costs, to enable all segments of society to benefit from its services.  Without the medical subsidies given by the government to stem the ever increasing cost of healthcare, a large portion of the community would simply be cut off from medical treatments that could save their lives.

I also humbly petition the Ministry of Health to recognise such fine examples as Hospital Ampang and to continue to support the efforts of the excellent team striving there.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online.

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