TL;DR – Our healthcare staff shouldn’t be subject to any form of abuse.
There was this post accusing a doctor from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) of downplaying the seriousness of a girl’s condition.
The post accompanied a video of a man presumably the father of the child, performing what looks like CPR on the child.
The post went viral, being shared 20,000 times within three days after it was posted. It’s perfectly understandable that the parents of the child was anxious about the condition of their child. It’s understandable that the parents of the child would get frustrated and worried if they had to wait for a doctor to attend to their sick child.
What’s not so understandable is why there is a rabid mob on social media baying for blood after reading the parents’ post. Mind you, this is from just hearing one side of the story. There are people who said things like:
“Report this motherf**ker to the medical board n sack him”
“Stupid idiot docter (sic).”
Why do people feel the urge to lash out? Do they even know the entire story? Do they know exactly what happened at the hospital? Can they be certain that Dr Peter Wong said exactly what the parents claimed he said? Do they know the conditions of the child? Most likely not. So why bay for blood? Why use such strong language? That’s a form of abuse. Should our healthcare workers be subject to that sort of abuse?
Thankfully, there are those who are willing to stand up for the Dr Wong. Two doctors did.
Dr Colin Ng, a doctor at KKH, was the first person who spoke up to support.
Dr Ng wonder whether the parents yelled at and abused the healthcare staff at the hospital, whether they would have gotten preemptive seizure advice if they had just been willing to wait their turn, was the child already recovering during the video.
Dr Ng didn’t want to venture any guesses, because he wasn’t there. And that wasn’t the main point of his post. Instead, Dr Ng’s post was about the nature of some of the comments. He said:
“Why did everyone straight up accept the circumstances of what happened through the lens of the parents and then pronounce judgement on the only person involved who knew what was actually going on?”
Dr Ng happens to be working in the same department as the said Dr Wong mentioned in the parent’s Facebook post.
Dr Ng pointed out that the department is a very caring and thorough one. He said:
“The department works solely for the healthcare of children (is there any better reason to do anything really) and no other reason. No, not to earn money from patients or do experiments or whatever other BS reason.”
That’s why Dr Ng exhorted that we should target zero abuse. He emphasized that no one should be on the receiving end of physical or verbal abuse.
Another doctor, Dr Tan Teck Tee, also spoke up in defence of Dr Wong.
Dr Tan explained that the child appeared to have a febrile seizure, which may look scary, but it’s not serious. He said:
“(it) does not cause harm to the child and is not life-threatening unless it is prolonged. This condition does not require CPR; simply turn the child to the side and ensure there is no danger nearby. It should stop within 5 minutes, otherwise call an ambulance.”
But that’s not the main point of Dr Tan’s point. Similar to Dr Ng, Dr Tan spoke up against abuse of any kind. He emphasized:
“Most, if not all of us, are trying our best to do right by our patients. Please let us do our jobs without fear.”
Dr Tan also raised his concern about ” the growing phenomenon of online “angry mobs” who jump onto the emotional bandwagon without considering other possibilities. “. He asked why it is so difficult to give the benefit of the doubt when we don’t have the full picture.
KKH has since released an official statement about the incident.
In it, KKH clarified that “the child’s condition was stable and she was not in danger. If her situation had changed or deteriorated, she would have been attended to promptly”.
And even when the child was brought back to KKH, she was assessed to be stable. She was admitted to the general ward and provided with the necessary care. KKH has reviewed the incident and concluded that “there were no lapses in medical care or patient safety”.
KKH’s response also echoed what Dr Ng and Dr Tan said about aiming for zero abuse. KKH said:
“KKH is committed to improving our patients’ experience, but parents and caregivers have to also play their part to be responsible and considerate to enable our medical professionals to perform their tasks.”
That’s an important message. Don’t bay for blood without being certain of the actual circumstances of what happened. And, most importantly, we should target zero abuse of our healthcare workers.
(Featured image via Stomp)