Thursday, November 24, 2005

Rumble in the Theatre Room

I read the unbelievable report about a cardiac-thoracic surgeon and a medical officer trading blows in the middle of a surgery inside the operating theatre of the UMMC (University Malaya Medical Centre) recently.

That the surgeon slapped the female M.O. with his blood-tainted gloved hand is outrageous. And the M.O.'s slap back in retaliation and breaking the surgeon's spectacles in the process is equally dramatic and horrifying. I wonder how the said surgeon could continue with the surgery with the right frame of mind and concentration, not to mention his lack of eye focus with the loss of his spectacles. Unbelievable and downright unacceptable behaviour from two learned professionals tasked with saving lives!

I know doctors are human too but surely we have a right to expect them to exercise the highest degree of professionalism and ethics during a crucial procedure where human lives are at stake, much like what we expect from pilots? If they are in any way emotionally troubled and unable to handle the pressure of the job expected of them, then they should be professional enough not to go ahead with the task assigned to them and endanger the live(s) of those placed in their hands.

A hospital committee of inquiry has been set up to hear the case next week. Perhaps our Health Ministry should also conduct an inquiry into this case and at the same time, find out whether there are other such similar cases of doctors losing control in an O.T. No patient should feel less than assured that he/she is in safe hands while under the knife of a surgeon and at the same time, no supporting staff in an O.T. should have occasion to feel threatened with real or perceived harm while performing their tasks.

Good grief!



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