Some sobering reports about medical education in Malaysia

Sunday December 12, 2010

Cleaning house

By RICHARD LIM and LOH FOON FONG
educate@thestar.com.my

Concerns persist regarding the quality of medical graduates and the Government is preparing a number of initiatives to finetune the system.
HOW hard is it to tell the difference between a sleeping patient and a cyanosed one who is on course to meet his maker?
Observing the simple rise and fall of one’s chest would be a good start. Checking for a pulse would be another and observing that the patient has turned blue is an absolute must.

However, the obvious did not happen in the case of one Pak Abu, who was deemed to be sleeping by house officers.
Fortunately, an observant doctor on his last rounds came into the picture and Pak Abu was resuscitated.
The three house officers in charge, who graduated from Russian and Ukrainian universities, were reprimanded for negligence, and things went from bad to worse when it was discovered that they did not know the basics of resuscitation or what an oxygen face mask was.

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Another perspective

Sunday December 12, 2010

We should not be faulted, say housemen

KIM*, a doctor in Pahang saw the early stages of the glut towards the tail end of his (then one-year) housemanship two years ago, while Rozaid* and Mok*, who completed their two-year housemanship last week, were part of the glut.
Turning back the clock, Kim said that he initially thought that the increased number of housemen would be a blessing.
“There were only a few of us (housemen) in Terengganu back in the day and I initially welcomed the increasing numbers as we were overworked,” he said.

With the influx of housemen, senior doctors have sounded the alarm that an overemphasis on numbers could come at the expense of quality.

“Although the number of patients became more manageable for us, the influx of housemen became alarming and even the policy makers were not prepared for it.

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Sunday December 12, 2010

The parent trap

ALTHOUGH there is a tendency to blame various parties in the housemen quagmire, parents should take a good look in the mirror and ask whether they contributed to the problem.
The adage goes that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and Physicians for Social Responsibility vice president Datuk Dr Abdul Hamid Abdul Kadir said that parental pressure is partly to blame for the quality of our housemen.
“Students who are pressured into medical school won’t make very good doctors as they lack interest in the first place ,” he told The Star.
“Parents should not ‘coax’ their children to learn something if they don’t have any interest in it.”
He added that misconceptions about the medical practice made things worse.
“Many think that the medical practice is lucrative but in reality, it is all a case of demand and supply,” he added.
“There were fewer doctors in the past so it was definitely better then, but things are becoming more competitive.”

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