Angry Doctor

Monday, October 26, 2009



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dr Tan, I presume?

Google is a wonderful thing.

This letter on the ST Forum today did not come as a surprise to angry doc:

Dispel concerns about complications after vaccinating kids

I REFER to Tuesday's report, 'Immunise infants early, specialists urge'.

I would like to ask child specialists how much adjuvants are given to children in the form of aluminium and mercury salts in vaccines, besides preservatives, over a two-year period, under the Ministry of Health (MOH) childhood immunisation programme.

Scientists have shown that aluminium and mercury are foreign to our biological system and do more harm than good. Does MOH have a register of all complications related to childhood vaccines given in Singapore? According to vaccine package inserts, these complications range from mild fever to severe convulsions and delayed eczema.

In a 2007 clinical study of 300 babies aged between nine and 12 months at five SingHealth polyclinics, what was the adverse complication rate and the severity, in terms of morbidity and mortality? Are these babies followed up long-term and for how long?

Mothers' concerns about autism and vaccination are real. The incidence of autism is reported to be rising in Singapore. This issue has not been thoroughly addressed as to its causation.

Tan Soon Kiam

Sounds familiar?

On a whim angry doc decided to google Mr Tan's name, and it turns out that 'Mr' Tan may in fact be 'Dr' Tan.

In fact, judging from the topic of his 'concern', he may be the same Dr Tan we encountered on this blog more than two years ago.

Dr Tan, as we can see from his letters, is no heavy metal fan. Readers may wish to google his name to find out for themselves why this is so.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

What's in a name?

Fellow skeptic-blogger Singaporean Skeptic's post draws angry doc's attention to a study on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) on ADHD being conducted at IMH.

angry doc is one of those people who routinely calls modern medicine 'western' medicine. He does so because he thinks it is a convention that reduces confusion; but Skeptic does make a good point - calling things by their proper name is important in promoting public understanding of science.

The fact is, even if "yi shen ke li" is shown to improve the behaviour of children with ADHD, it doesn't mean that TCM 'works', because giving a fixed formulation to all patients with a diagnosis that is made by 'western' doctors and which does not exist in TCM canon is not TCM.

Rather, it would mean that the active components in 'yi shen ke li' works. If we go on to identify that active component like Skeptic suggested, then it will mean that that active component works. If we continue to give children 'yi shen ke li' in its current form to children, then it would mean that this particular *herbal* medicine works. Either way, it would mean that modern or scientific medicine works, but not that TCM works.

Being conducted by IMH, angry doc is pretty sure the trial will be vigorous and have proper control group/s and be properly double or triple-blinded, although he suspects that the results will be like this one he looked at a while ago. He eagerly awaits them , and hopes that a 'negative' trial will also be reported with the same fanfare in the local media.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Medium Register

An interesting piece of news here:

Mediums to be regulated
Taoist Federation aims to weed out unskilled tang ki
By Yen Feng

THE Taoist Federation is taking steps to regulate spirit mediums here.

As early as next month, it will issue registration forms to the roughly 300 temples affiliated to it, so a register of mediums, or tang ki in Hokkien, can be set up.

Federation president Tan Thiam Lye told The Straits Times last week that this was the first in a series of steps to set apart those trained in channelling Chinese deities.

Registration is, however, voluntary for now. Down the road, licences may be issued.

More immediately, the federation will also produce a free manual to help devotees discern between skilled and unskilled mediums.

Saying the federation will take things 'one step at a time', he added: 'It is time for us to regulate them. We must not let the actions of a few bad apples lead to a misunderstanding of mediums and Taoism.'

angry doc will be very interested in finding our how to "discern between skilled and unskilled mediums". Maybe they can give a copy of the manual to Father Simon so he doesn't hold a "prayer session" for the wrong person in the future...

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Sunday, October 11, 2009


(Posted on the Singapore MD blog)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


angry doc is a little disturbed by two letters that were published in the ST Forum in response to Salma Khalik's article.

Fellow bloggers spacefan and Gigamole have blogged about them, and angry doc thought he might venture an opinion too.

While angry doc had always had respect for Prof Goh and more recently Dr Chong, he found their letters too defensive in tone; rather than to just stop at admitting that our profession has some way to go to policing our own, both men found it necessary to strike back at Ms Khalik.

Prof Goh tried to shift part of the blame for the problem to the media ("including the newspapers"), and in effect called Ms Khalik's article "unfair reporting" which hurt the feelings of ethical doctors.

Dr Chong brought in the red herring of the H1N1 pandemic, and accused Ms Khalik of being "callous and unpatriotic".

Ironically, the first sentence of Ms Khalik's article reads:

"There is no doubt that the majority of the 8,000 doctors in Singapore are ethical professionals."

angry doc has no love for Ms Khalik, but over the years he had come to realise that sometimes an 'unfriendly' journalist can in fact be the profession's and patients' best friend, and that the best question to ask when looking at a question on policy or ethics is sometimes: "What would Salma Khalik write if she knew about this?".

angry doc had never had his feelings hurt by expose of unethical doctors, because he knew very well how *he* practised; he is responsible for his professional actions as an individual, just as the errant doctors are - he feels no shame for other doctors' actions, just as he does not expect other doctors to feel shame for his actions.

Yet the letters from the two presidents have managed to make him feel embarrassed to be a doctor today. Had angry doc belonged to either of the societies, he might have felt ashamed.

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