OK, no gossip but a letter from the ST Forum:
Nov 29, 2005
Houseman makes fun of patients' plight
MY MOTHER, Madam Chong Kwoi Sin, was warded for a major stroke at Alexandra Hospital (Ward 5, Bed 19) on Nov 17 and died in the evening of the next day.
On the morning of Nov 18, a group of housemen in their early to mid-20s went on their rounds to examine the record of each patient.
When the group stopped by the bed next to my mother's, a male houseman commented in an amused manner to his peers that the patient, who was not in her bed then, was of very light weight at 38kg. He laughed while repeating the comment loudly several times. 'I've never seen anyone so light!' he said.
Later, in the corridor just outside the ward, this same houseman held up my mother's CT brain scan and commented, again in a jocular way, this time to another houseman: 'She's still alive, meh?' He repeated the same insensitive remark without realising that I was within hearing distance.
As my heart was heavy and my mind preoccupied with the imminent death of my mother, I pulled her doctor, who was also a 20-something houseman, aside and told him how hurt I was with the insensitive remarks of his colleague.
I told him to tell his colleague that should I complain to the hospital's CEO, the young trainee doctor's record would certainly be blemished.
More importantly, I also told him to remind the young man that he also has a mother. He apologised profusely on behalf of his colleague and, to my surprise, was honest to admit that he, too, had made the same mistake of passing crude remarks, albeit innocuously, about his patients. However, he promised that he would not do it from then on.
Two hours later, my mother's doctor informed me that my message had been relayed to the houseman. I expected the culprit to come up to me to thank me for not reporting him and apologise for his loose tongue.
But this was not to be.
Thereafter, I noticed that he continued with his chatty arrogance, as if nothing had happened.
The haughty houseman demonstrated a high degree of thoughtlessness and a total lack of compassion and ethics, completely out of line with the noble medical profession. If he exemplifies the future of Singapore, my heart bleeds for the nation.
It is such an irony that Alexandra Hospital has this on its website: 'AH has promised to place heart, soul and mind to caring for the patients. Our staff are our best assets, central to the work we do and the level of success that we attain. We are prepared to commit the resources necessary to recruit, develop and retain the best staff. We take pride in providing them the best in training and development, and also in imparting a sense of empathy and care for our patients and community.'
Terrence Shan Chee Hoong
I suspect the 'housemen' may really be medical students, but I won't be surprised if they were not.