Angry Doctor

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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  • I think it's natural to feel red-faced when the profession you're in is put into question; it somehow puts people into a defensive mode.

    By Blogger a, At October 07, 2009 12:28 pm  

  • I think that's a problem that some Singaporeans have - becoming defensive whenever someone makes a general criticism about Singapore.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 07, 2009 9:46 pm  

  • I do not see anything wrong in doctors, as a profession, earning from their trade.

    Is a plumber who charges for repairing a leaking water pipe, preventing a house from being flooded, doing anything wrong?
    For that matter, a dentist charging for his service to help alleviate toothache in a patient any wrong?

    The same argument can be applied to buying a $3 dollar bowl of noodles at a hawker centre whose ingredients, being sold at the wet market next door, might only be $0.50 any different?

    Everyone aspires to provide for their family a higher standard of living. Why single out doctors as a profession?

    Why not journalists? Lawyers? Bankers/Traders who brought the world economies to their knees only recently?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 08, 2009 11:32 am  

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