Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ambulance Ride

My deepest condolence to Dr Norbaizura Yahaya's family. Dr Norbaizura is a young Malaysian doctor who suffered severe injury and succumbed 2 weeks later in ICU after involved in an ambulance accident. She accompanied a patient in an ambulance from Seremban Hospital to Selayang Hospital and on the way, the ambulance she was travelling in burst a tyre and overturned. The news in the STAR paper today mentioned that her family is not eligible for compensation because she was not yet confirmed in her service. For a doctor to be confirmed in service, it takes at least 3 to 4 years or can be longer at times for those "unfortunate" ones.

Usually the most junior doctors (mostly the House Officers) in the medical hierarchy will be the one assigned to escort or accompany patients during transportation from one hospital to another. It is sad to know that prior to confirmation in service, these medical personnels are not eligible for compensation if any mishap occurs while on duty. This is totally unacceptable. Can a junior doctor decline to accompany the patient in the ambulance if he or she is not yet confirmed in service? We all know the answer; That is impossible :(

Escorting patients to another hospital inside an ambulance is definitely not a pleasant experience. In fact it is scary, and at times it is hazardous. I had escorted patients inside an ambulance few times in the past during my early years working as Houseman/Intern and Junior Medical Officer. I really have to pray hard for a safe journey each time prior to sitting inside the ambulance accompanying the patient to another hospital. Some of the ambulance drivers will drive and speed like Mat Rempit on the road. And not all the 4 wheels of the ambulance are touching the ground each time when we were on the road.

Imaging speeding at the speed of 120 to 160 km/hr inside an ambulance on the road. (Ambulances have no legal speed limit). At this speed, those who were sitting inside the ambulance (either the accompanying doctor, nurse , MA or attendant) will be swinging on the seat while the patient might be thrown here and there on the stretcher inside the ambulance. Luckily the ETT was secured properly. It was not easy to manual ambubag the patient in such condition. The long, nauseating, hair rising, nerve wrecking and lip smacking ambulance ride. Worst still in the rural areas in Sarawak.. with narrow, winding roads and pot holes everywhere. I really have to thank God I have survived all the previous ambulance rides safe and unhurt, except for giddiness, headache or nausea. My friends and colleagues who escort patients in ambulances in the past have similar stories too. And I guess most doctors have their own stories regarding their ambulance ride experiences...

p/s : The above mentioned is not applicable to ALL ambulance drivers. There are some nice ambulance drivers too...

44 comments:

zeroimpact said...

*bows head*
silent prayer

_butt said...

my deepest condolence..

angel said...

OMG! That's so horrible! No compensation summore! Can't the ambulance drivers get proper "training" or something?? Unacceptable!

May Dr. Norbaizura rest in peace...

Winn said...

hm..everymorning ( almost) on the way to work..we will hear the ambulance siren and have to gv way to them...

yeah i can imagine their feeling inside..kancheong..curse ppl for not giving ways..and every min seems like hrs..

so sorry to hear abt dr norba..

Pink Cotton said...

oh dear...
is she one of ur colleagues?

really so scary inside the ambulance ka??then wat about the patient? wont hurt tiok them meh?yeee....

Chen said...

zeroimpact & butt,
hope she rest in peace

angel,
To ease the burden on Dr Norbaizura family, the Malaysian Medical Association gave a RM10,000 donation to her father loh.. sad hoh such incident happen..

winn,
some moron drivers are really moron.. they don't give way to ambulance. I have seen cars overtake ambulance leh.. &*^%$

pink cotton,
I dunno her but one of my colleagues know her. Not all the ambulance drivers are lidat loh.. I mean some.. u never know which driver u get when escorting patient in ambulance :(

L B said...

It was something obvious, but I hadn't realized until you pointed it out that ambulances have no legal speed limit.. Interesting fact.

mistipurple said...

sad.
condolence to Dr Norbaizura Yahaya's family and may she rest in peace.

if this article comes out in our straits times, there will be alot of donations coming through. kiasuland is abit crazy. people on surface can be darn rude, but when they read things like dat, they soft heart and donate alot. even on tv, charity shows used to draw in millions. (though now not sure, after a controversy on how some funds were being directed in the last NKF, ie. national kidney foundation saga)

mistipurple said...

and thank goodness you were safe on those rides during your intern years. :)

Chen said...

LB,
trying to imagine the ambulance driver being fined for speeding on the road :)

misti,
May she rest in peace. So far the MMA gave a donation of RM 10,000 to her family. Whatever amount of $$$ cannot compensate the loss of a daughter :(

Kenny Ng said...

Sorry to hear that. Every job also has it own risks. May she rest in peace.

nyonyapenang said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nyonyapenang said...

they can maybe check out the ambulance mia motor policy. proly got some clauses that cover passenger casualties.

mistipurple said...

ya. :(
money cannot buy everything.

may said...

hmmm... I thought I read or heard from somewhere that they do have a speed limit too, for obvious reasons like what you pointed out -- too fast could kill instead of save the person's life!

they should employ F1 drivers to be ambulance drivers, eh... everyone needs a day-job... ;)

a^ben said...

waiseh` ambulance ride` nvr sit in it larh`

is it like some of the bus rides~? ahhahaha

Simple American said...

What a shame. That is unconscionable.

What purpose is there for an ambulance to drive so quickly if the patient is in stable condition? Isn't the patient's comfort a concern too? Sounds like someone needs to take a big stick to the backside of the driver's head.

ah nel said...

some driver reli like Mat Armpit...
my best fren told b4 thre is 1 time he was driving then heard a loud ambulance siren and he let it passby then a few mile ahead he saw the ambulance stop down and he tot thre was accident but...kns...they are buying durian...

Pink Cotton said...

WAH...i like ahnel's story about the durian buying ambulance..MUAHAHAHA

funny!

yalo...some acquaintance of mine who drives an ambulance for a living said sometimes they just put the siren when they r in a hurry to have lunch or wat..

terrible ho?

Chen said...

kenny,
I hope the Ministry of Health will do something to alleviate the uncertainty of pre confirmation junior doctors and other medical personnels in terms of compensation when accidents happen.

nyonya,
if I’m not mistaken, the policy only cover the ambulance driver niah..

misti,
yeah loh.. :(
There were ambulance accidents in the past too whereby the accompanying nurse became paralysed cos of the accident :(
How sad :(

Chen said...

may,
nowadays they have a speed limit liao?
I’m not aware of that leh…
But most ambulance drivers still speed like there is no tomorrow :(

Eeee.. dowan F1 drivers lah.. I already had phobia sitting inside the ambulance..

ah ben,
choy choy.. why u wanna sit inside the ambulance?

SA,
Some of the drivers are very stubborn, especially the “experienced” driver…
Their so called “policy” … and we have no say in it unless those from higher authorities do something :(

Chen said...

ah nel,
LOL at your Mat Armpit.. nice names :D
Kakkakka at the buying durian stories.
There are indeed ambulance drivers who misuse the sirens..
This is not something new :D
It happens every now and then, and everywhere :(

pink cotton,
actually hoh, what u say are true..
the sirens are being misused at times for the “comfort” of the drivers, which have happened for ages…
hai… this is the known sad truth :(

Even in Kuching in the past, on the way back to the hospital…
The ambulance driver saw heavy traffic jam on the road, so he put on the siren…
Bee boh bee boh…
other vehicles gave way..
so we can avoid the traffic jam and balik hospital cepat :P
I hope that ambulance driver is not your acquaintance leh :P

papercrazy said...

Sad case....perhaps the junior doctors union (if there is any) can write a petition to say they don't want to follow in the ambulance lor since they will not compensated if anything happen to them...

This is also another case of to do is wrong, not to do is also wrong...haiyah...so confuse

but I am still laughing at the Star online's blunder yesterday on the caption

eve said...

sometimes it's the feeling of grandeur for the ambulance drivers..just becos they r drving ambulances..they know everyone will slow down for them n they can just honked their way thru..n they oso misuse their privilege..haiyo..stopped by to buy durian...ultimate la...i have my stories abt accompanying patients on the ambulances..but..haihss..no nid to tell la..sien oredi..
hey..have u noticed there r some car drivers who would follow an ambulance closely fr behind , so tat they too can cut queue in a traffic jam?..

velverse said...

At times is such a sad thing to hear about.

Sigh~

ah nel said...

its reli bad ler as later if this continue on then next time reli emergency who will gv way...

gv way tot about they went to buy durian or like wat PinkC say go lunch...

nyonyapenang said...

vehicles carrying public, eg buses, taxis normally have insurance policies covering the passengers as well.

Cocka Doodle said...

I can relate to the ordeal you went thru' on the ambulance ride. I once rode in one accompanying my dad to the hospital. The driver was very irresponsible and reckless. My dad was already in pain but stabilized and this driver just went over those speed humps with little regard to the patient behind. I had to yell at him to slow down.
It's always good to check the condition of the tyres and ensure the ambulances are well maintained before they drive at such high speed.

Daniel Yiek said...

Maintenance of tyres are important regardless of vehicle type. Sad...

Chen said...

papercrazy,
At the end of the days, the junior doctors still have to escort the patients :) Those in the higher hierachy won't do such work. Do you think the specialist want to accompany patient inside the ambulance? (unless the patient is their family member):) We all know the answer.

eve,
Those who follow the ambulances closely from behind are kiasu cars who dowan to let go any "opportunities" :)

velverse,
I hope the Ministry of Health will do something about this

ah nel,
It is still better to give way than not doing so.. cos we don't know which case is genuine emergency. For the benefit of doubt, it is still better to give way.

Chen said...

nyonya pg,
if I'm not mistaken, those insurance out there doesn't cover ambulance ride.

cocka,
yeah, that's true. And not forgetting, some ambulance drivers even smoke while on duty.. I mean when they are driving the ambulance..
haih..

daniel,
Hope the authorities will pay serious attention to proper maintenance of ambulances in the future.

KittyCat said...

This is a sad way to lose a doctor. I also didn't know interns have such a LONG period of confirmation with NO compensation. Is this the case everywhere?

Yeah, hope that the Ministry will really do something, and not just some stop-gap measure while the heat is on.

ah nel said...

i owes gv way coz i get to follow their back and ran over the red light without being saman...hehe

Chen said...

kittycat,
the confirmation here is not for intern but for all the doctors working in gov service. The duration for intern or housemanship is just one year (unless they "failed" in their performance or not "up to par") and they will be promoted to become junior medical officer in the second year of their service.

The confirmation here means confirmation in government service. Before a doctor can be confirmed, they need to attend induction course and sit for exam at the end of the course. The waiting list for the course is very long and the course is only held once a year at the moment. Most doctors have to wait for two or three years (pr longer) before they can have the opportunity to attend the induction course.

And that is not the end of the stories yet.. Have to wait for the result of the exam which will take months.. There is endless hazzle to get the confirmation done in time.. Lotsa paper works & documents to be submitted, including National Security File, Letter of appointment or surat lantikan, Induction Course certificates bla bla bla etc etc.. to be submitted to the office, then to the state administration level, then to MOH or KKM, then to SPA and then back to KKM again.

Most doctors need to make several trips to KKM and Putrajaya to hasten the process, or else the files will be left at the bottom of the stack of files or even on the floor, and the confirmation will get stuck or take ages to be processed.

U get what I mean? Aiyhh...

Chen said...

ah nel,
si kui.. later get saman then u know :P

L B said...

LB *HUGS* China Chen Kaur Sot Sot Sotong

Chen said...

LB,
hugs LBliu Singh Khan San ?Kaur :D

IML said...

To perish in the line of duty and not recognised???!!!

ah nel said...

i can xplain to them tat i just follow them nia ler n i duno its red light... ;P

Chen said...

IML,
sad hoh? :(

ah nel,
u think ppl will believe u meh? :D

ah nel said...

sure got way mia... :P

Bernard said...

Hi chen, i remember the days when i sent patients from bintulu to sibu or miri. i had yet to see a nurse accompanying me who didn't vomit during the journey or vomit at the end of it. those roads were the worst. only intubated patients would get sent by a doctor.

Chen said...

ah nel,
using $$$$ ah? hahahha

bernard,
yeah, the roads in Sarawak cannot be compared with the roads here in Peninsular. Remembering those days... :(

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