HOSPITAL FEES: Doctors should fill their hearts with compassion
I refer to the article “Double tragedy for wushu exponent” (NST, Jan 4).
In these present times, when so many children are becoming irresponsible by abandoning their sickly parents to old folks homes, one boy trained in the arts of Wushu took a flight to China to challenge the experts there, to win the prize money to pay the hospital bills for his sick mother.
In China, he spilt blood, undergoing pain brought upon by opponents, yet he never gave up, as in his heart was his mother.
But when he was flying back to her after the tournament, unknown to him she had passed away. The sad news had reached him upon his arrival at the airport.
That great son is Mohd Meeraj Omar, our national wushu exponent, who is the national Sanshou champion, and silver medalist in World and Asian Championships last year.
It was sad to read that there is an outstanding RM90,000 hospital bill to be paid, and what is more unfortunate is that, according to the article, the hospital had threatened to take legal action against him.
Putting the guilt on doctors and hospital administrators for charging may not be a fair assessment. Admission to a private hospital is a suggestion that one would like to pay for the health services rendered. Otherwise, there are certainly much cheaper alternatives albeit less comfortable and a perceived poorer quality of care.
Repeatedly, individuals approach the press painting a picture of vultures, feeding on the dead and dying. However, the reality is that even hospitals have bills to pay, equipments to maintain and staff, who also need to feed their families. Expecting healthcare workers to be like angelic figures in this current economic situation is unreasonable and reeks of selfishness.
As it is, many health professionals do go an extra mile when the situation requires in order to ensure that the care to the patient is not compromised. Many such deeds go unnoticed, instead the mounting bills overshadows any noble deeds the doctor may have had performed.
Conversely, it is also important for private practitioners to outline the plan and possible cost at the outset. On many occasions, what is supposedly a cheap affair escalates into an astronomical figure. The ability of the hospital and doctors to forecast the cost may be important, so that necessary referrals if needed to a cheaper facility can be done before the bill balloons.