Putting the care back in healthcare — Tina Jamaluddin

JUNE 5 — Recently my mother fell ill with severe stomach pain and had to be admitted. I will concede that my first thought was to send her to a private hospital but cost factors coupled with the fact that my mother is an amazing patriot caused me to send her to Ampang Hospital.

The admission at A&E was long and drawn out. My scepticism reared its ugly head. My worry increased.

I was fearful and must admit even a little angry at the delay. To be fair, however, there were a lot of people seeking treatment.

My 72-year-old mother was finally admitted and after further examination, underwent surgery a week later as she needed to be stabilised first since she had developed a lung infection and fever.

It was considered a major and high risk surgery as it involved her ovaries, her appendix and parts of her intestines. All in all, she was in hospital for over three weeks.

During surgery, there was an electronic display board that showed the status of where the patient was; holding area, operating theatre, recovery room and finally back to the ward.

This allowed family members to “track” which stage the patient was at. The board wasn't updated as frequently as I would have liked but the fact that they had this system in place was pretty impressive.

The ward that she was in was categorised as Third Class yet it was well maintained and clean. Family members were allowed to stay over and offer additional care to the patient.

The nursing staff were attentive even though you could see that they were really busy. Yes, family members needed to clean and bathe the patients but I can understand the need for this.

Aside from how busy the nurses were, cleaning up and bathing the patients is surely not necessarily part of their job scope. They have far more important things to do.

Further, some patients would just not be comfortable having strangers clean them up. I know that would be how my mother would have felt.

The nursing staff were also always respectful and kind, they always addressed my mother as aunty or nenek. My only complaint would be that they addressed me as aunty too!

Then there were the doctors. They were nothing short of professional and exhibited a warm and caring attitude.

They were ever ready to answer questions and provide comforting words to the patient. The surgery was a success and all in all there were three different teams working together.

After she was discharged, she had to go back for a follow up check-up about three weeks later. The doctors all seemed to recognise her and there was genuine care and warmth. There is no way to describe how good this made my mother feel.

I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to all the staff at Ampang Hospital and in particular to Dr Ranjit Singh Dhalliwal, Dr Hamidah, Dr Murali, Dr Vicknesh, Dr Lavitha, Dr Liyana and Dr Dinie and the nursing team in Ward 6A and 5C.

We expressed our gratitude to them during the follow up visit and asked how we could provide feedback. We were advised to write to the Ministry of Health but I feel that this story needs to be made available to the public and not just MOH.

Too often we are quick to look at the negatives and complain about everything.

While our public healthcare system may not be perfect, I have to admit it is really pretty good. Pretty damn good, especially as her total bill came up to only RM250 being a warga emas.

Yes, you read that right and there are no zeroes missing. Pretty darn impressive really and if she had been a government servant, it would have been free.

My view of the public healthcare system has changed considerably. I am very impressed and thankful for what we have.

My mother too is eternally grateful and is proudly telling everyone of her great experience.

That is why I feel the need to write this, other than at the urgings of my mother. She wanted her story to be shared.

I can safely say that my mother's experience and recovery would not have been the same if she had not felt as comforted and cared for as she did.

The fact that the doctors and nursing staff showed such care and concern for her while in hospital and then later remembered who she was and "salam" her during her follow-up gave her such a warm fuzzy feeling.

I felt the same way too and this is something that money just can’t buy. This is why putting the care back in healthcare is what really matters to a patient’s wellbeing.

Once again, thank you Ampang Hospital!

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

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