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Sunday, December 28, 2003

Taman Desa Medical Center

Sunday December 28, 2003

A fish bone stuck in the throat of my son and we were unable to remove it with more “traditional methods”, like eating bananas, rice, or drinking a lot of water. Subsequently, we brought him to Taman Desa Medical Center in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur – and we have to report a very disappointing experience.

The hospital is still not computerised and a lot is being handled via old hand-written files. As such, and as usual, it is always a very long and tedious process for reception and nurses to identify the names of patients and to see, if they had been there before. And every time, we are coming there, we have to go through the whole procedure, again and again, before we even get attended to.

My kid is six years old, and of course, he was a bit nervous and frightened. As the emergency doctor wasn't able to get the bone out, and he advised us that we would need a specialist (I don't want to mention his name here). I know the Doctor from earlier treatments and I know him as very good. It was clear that my kid needed to stay in the hospital over night, since a little surgery was required.

As such, we had to advise the reception about this and they asked us to provide a deposit of more than RM2,000, an incredible high sum. There are discussions in the New Straits Times, not about Taman Desa Medical Center, that the requirement to provide a deposit takes sometimes great efforts. And partially, no doctor attends to patients BEFORE the deposit has been paid – which can be tough for some patients, especially, when those are in pain and need of attendance. Not everybody has a creditcard, and banks don't always give a high credit limit to credit card holders – which can cause another problem. I simply refused to pay such amount, and insisted at only paying RM500. I also told the lady at the reception that this is not her fault, and that this is a bureaucratic procedure – what doesn’t make it right. Finally, the receptionist agreed to a deposit of RM500.

The emergency doctor prepared my kid for the surgery by giving him a jab into his hands. It was difficult for him to find the bloodline in my kid's hands but it was probably not necessary to poke around endlessly. Failing to find one, he simply gave up and said that before the operation, the operating doctor would try it again. My kid was in great pain. In fact, my kid, who is quite brave, said, that this was the greatest pain he had to endure in his life.

While waiting, my kid told me that he felt cold – in fact, he shivered. The blanket provided was too thin to keep him warm. I asked a nurse, if we could have a thicker blanket and she responded, that the operation would begin soon, and that he would soon be moved from the reception area to the operation theatre. I just responded that this is not a good response, since my kid felt cold now – but I didn’t get a reply, as she simply went off.

The operation went well, and was short. My kid was a bit in shock when he woke up and cried, but we managed. The doctor indicated that he would return to the hospital the next day at around 10.00AM for a quick check. My wife and I stayed in the hospital for the night. The next morning, we woke up quite early. We got breakfast, which was okay, and than the waiting began – And none of the nurses knew when the doctor would come. None even provided a slight indication, and one said that he would come around 12.00 PM. The chief nurse got involved pretty early, and took a very resolute stance. After I asked the second she started to look more and more upset when I came out from the room to inquire. I even went to the room, where the Doctor normally has his speaking hours and the nurse in the neighbouring room told me that he would normally only come at around 11.00 AM. I told them that I wouldn’t be able to stay the whole morning, since I also have to work.

The Doctor finally came shortly after 11.00 AM or so we were told that the nurses would have to prepare a report and the bill, which would take about 30 minutes. When I didn’t receive any update at about 11.40 AM, we decided to just leave the room.

Interestingly, the room was cleaned already, although we were still inside, and I used the toilet afterwards. So much for ongoing cleanliness. We pressed hard to get the papers done, which were not even prepared at that time. When I was told, that it would take another 10 minutes, I said, no – I would have to leave now to get to my meeting on time. That was a bit of a surprise to the staff but only then started they to move about and prepared the bill.

What is the learning experience?

 Taman Desa Medical Center has lost a regular visitor. Only if there really is an emergency in my family will I go there again.

 While I understand that doctors are not always able to attend to an appointment on the dot, nurses should be able to convey friendly messages to visitors. Overall, nurses should be friendlier. A hospital is not necessarily a place where people like to linger around and bear with a vacuum in communication. People are frightened, nervous, anxious etc. They need responsible staff who is able to assist and provide a positive experience

 Rooms should only be cleaned AFTER a patient has left the place. Just for hygienic reasons.

 And: Most of all – computerise the hospital to avoid hassle for patients

Thank you.

I wanted to inform the following institutions about this event.

The Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia:

Malaysian Medial Association:

... but could only sent a comment to the first webpage, as the link to send a feedback is broken.

Anyway – someone got any similar comments? Please respond to

Best regards, as usual,



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