Posted by: Financial Sith Lord | January 23, 2010

Malaysian Private Hospitals a Slaughter-house?

This week alone, I’m in the knowledge of at least 4 deaths (my aunt of ovarian cancer, my mom’s close friend, my baseball team coach’s father, and DYMM Almarhum Sultan of Johor). It has also been a marathon for me, visiting many friends and relatives in hospitals around KL and PJ, of many reasons. It is during these regular visitation to the hospitals that I observed several unresting facts, that until now, is still haunting and bothering me. It also brought me back to memory lane, reminiscing the demise of both my parent-in-laws.

Through all the experience that I have gained in dealing with and visiting  hospitals (both government and private), whilst observing their level of service rendered for its patients, I am able to draw an astounding conclusion. But before I reveal my conclusion, let me briefly explain to you the history of it all..

Let’s start with the demise of my late father-in-law. He was diagnosed with a carcinoma (cancer) on his right breast (yes, men too can get breast cancer!), and an operation was done to remove the growth at a local private hospital. All went well, when suddenly his body reacted negatively to the medication prescribed. That resulted him being bed-ridden for almost 2 weeks. After much persuasion, we managed to re-admit him to the same hospital. After initial diagnosis, the Doctor said that there was a nasty ulcer in his intestines. A surgery was necessary to ratify the problem, and without hesitation, the family approved. After that surgery, he was admitted to the ICU for close monitoring, but the blood was still coming out from the ulcer. The Doctor came again and said that another surgery was necessary to ratify problems from the first surgery.. Having no other option, the family again reluctantly agreed. After the second surgery, he went into a coma, and was still loosing blood. At one point, the hospital needed a minimum of 5 blood bags per day, just to cope with the amount of blood he was loosing.  Then came again the Doctor, saying that another surgery was necessary to ratify problems from the second surgery.. Again having no other choice, the family was forced to agree.

Sadly, after 3 surgeries, and after 3 weeks in the ICU, he passed away among his family members. 2 days after his death, the hospital sent us a bill totaling to RM 130,000.!!. RM 30,000 was for the ICU costs, RM 90,000 for the 3 surgeries, and the rest for other incidentals. Now, that’s story 1.

Story no. 2, my uncle had developed stage 4 lung cancer. He was admitted to a hospital in Subang for treatment. Ironically, the Doctor only visited him 2 times throughout his stay of 9 days, insisted that there was no more hope (even gave him 6 months to live), and the hospital charged him RM 21,000. During his stay there, he was placed on an oxygen tank as he had breathing difficulties. At one time, the oxygen supply depleted and the nurses did not replenish the supply to a point where he was wailing for help. He pressed the assistance button, but realized it was not working. It was until another patient, who happen to pass by the room heard of his screams, alerted the medical staffs. After all that, still they charged him RM 21,000.

Story no. 3, my step grandmother was admitted to a private hospital in PJ, as she had developed a nasty stomach ulcer. The Doctor saw her several times and everything went well at first. Then one day, when she woke up in the morning, she saw her blood all over the bed. As the drip bottle had depleted its liquid, the pressure forced her blood to be drawn instead. No nurses came until my step grandmother called for them. No apologies, no nothing, they acted as if nothing happened, and at the end of the day, they charged her RM 30,000.

Story no. 4, a continuation of story no. 2, my uncle got himself out of the hospital in Subang, and checked himself in to University Hospital in PJ. He had to wait for almost 4 hours due to shortage of bed, but after all that, he was placed in a special ward for cancer patients. At that hospital, there were DOCTORS.. with an S, attending to him, at least 5 times a day. On the day I visited him,  there were at least 15 Doctors in the ward, listening intently to a very senior Chinese Guy, whom I believe to be the Head of Surgeon. All of a sudden, I had a recollection of a scene from the Star World drama “Dr. House”. What was going on there was very similar to what Dr. House and his team were doing on TV. They were discussing  each patient’s diagnosis, and finding ways of how to battle the cancer. Though a timeline was given to my dear uncle, they refused to acknowledge defeat and continued their struggle to find the solution.. all in the name of medicine. The Doctors regularly updated him on his health, and explained to him the treatment methodologies so that he would understand what was going on. And for the new treatment, it was going to cost him RM 7,000 per month. (RM 21,000 for 9 days versus RM 7,000 per month… get the picture??)

So, based on all these stories, as well as other stories that I’ve not mentioned in here, I can safely say, that most Malaysian Private Hospitals just couldn’t care less about your health. All they are interested with is your money in your pocket. They will drag tests that normally takes 3 – 5 hours, and make it to 4 – 5 days, just so you have to pay more for the room that you’re staying in. Somehow or rather, I feel that these abuse are alarmingly rampant amongst private practices. It is more alarming with them spearheading the Malaysian Health Tourism campaign, drawing patients from all over Asia. What would happen if the incidents depicted in my stories mentioned above, happened to them? Major lawsuits..

On the other hand, the Government’s healthcare services are slow.. They are darn slow… BUT.. their treatments and medications are superb. Which is more important? People to pamper you while you’re sick, or people who really gives you a good effective treatment for your illness? Now that’s just service. Financially, the costs of government hospitals are approximately 10 – 15% of the price charged by private practices. For a 1st class ward in a private hospital, the rate is RM 300 a day. A first class ward in a government hospital is RM 70 a day.

Recently, the government announced that all pig farms and slaughter houses were to be relocated and merged into a more systematic outfit. Some how, several slaughter-house managed to escape that initiative. They opened in major towns and cities  in Malaysia, and named it “Specialist Center”!!..

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Responses

  1. I completely agree to this conclusion. It is extremely sad to agree that private hospitals in Malaysia are real slaughter houses!


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