Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic doctor and staff went beyond their call of duty to support Raymond Anthony Fernando’s wife who was in severe distress/pain

“I expect to pass through this life but once.  Therefore, if there be any kindness I can show, or good things I can do for another human being, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.

- William Penn -

The above caption by William Penn which motivates us to show kindness to those who are suffering from chronic illnesses is worth practising given that we are living in an unpredictable world.  An unpredictable world calls for us to prepare ourselves for uncertainties and become more predictable.  To help our brothers and sisters who are finding it so hard to cope. 

Indeed kindness showed in its full glory when Executive Officer - Miss Kat, Nurse Manager Ms Nirmala and Dr Wong attended to my wife, Doris yesterday afternoon (Wed 6th June 2012 from 1.30pm to 3.30pm) at the Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic.

I spoke to Kat early in the morning explaining my wife’s fragile mental state following the severe pain which she has been experiencing over the last few days from her advanced arthritis condition.   Kat, Sister Nirmala and Dr Wong have read a lot about my wife’s battle with schizophrenia and my struggle in caring for her all by myself for more than 3 decades.  They full understand how tough it is for a caregiver to take care of a loved one suffering from a serious mental disorder like schizophrenia. They displayed much empathy.

Kat briefed all staff managing the various stations – the lab where she had to have her ECG, the registration counter, etc. so that Doris will not have to wait longer than necessary. Kat had a late lunch that afternoon - a clear indication that she wanted to fully support my wife and uplift both her and myself.

When we arrived at the clinic at 1.30pm, Kat got another female staff to provide a wheelchair for my wife and the ECG went smoothly. Doris was frightened to go for the ECG at first because the last time she went for the test she had to climb a bed that was pretty high, and she was worried sick that she would fall. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the new bed that is now used for patients to take their ECG is very much lower – tailored, I guess to prevent the elderly from falling off the bed.  I’m glad that the management of the Polyclinic is receptive to feedback and is constantly looking out for improvements to raise the level of service that will benefit her patients.  More importantly, Government agencies must view feedback as a communication tool to improve service levels, and not view issues raised as complaints, which, regrettably is often the case.

Dr Wong, the lady doctor who saw my wife was exceptionally kind. She was not there just to prescribe her diabetic and cholesterol medications.   She went beyond that - comforting Doris and taking pains to explain and advise her on her conditions, assuring her that despite all her ailments she was blessed to have a husband like me to care for her. Dr Wong even recommended prune juice for my wife to resolve the constipation problems she was facing. Her advice was excellent! My wife this morning managed to clear her bowels.  Doris was uplifted – she knows that there are indeed people that care and feel for her.

After the consultation was over, Dr Wong even took the trouble to wheel my wife out of her room and told us to come back if and when we needed medical care.  

Dr Wong had gone beyond her call of duty and my wife and I are so touched by a professional who is able to show compassion, understanding, love and support for those who are in less than fortunate circumstances. She is a model doctor that others in her profession should emulate.  It is no exaggeration to document that this doctor is a shining example of one who shows a humane face.  Such qualities are rare these days.   

Providing medical care that goes beyond prescribing medications can help make a BIG difference to those who suffer in silence.

I do raise issues that are unsatisfactory, but I will also be the first to acknowledge when service is exceptional - as in this case.  

There has been a prediction that my wife will pass on 6 years from now, so I will ensure that she gets the best care- whether it is from me or from all those services she badly needs.  For it’s the only decent thing left to do.

Kindly convey my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the staff concerned – especially Dr Wong. My wife is still going through severe pain, but it helps when healthcare workers show love, understanding and the willingness to render assistance without “going by the book.”  Indeed, flexibility must be incorporated in our healthcare system so that patients are not being pushed from one place to another – especially those who have severe mobility problems. Hospitals need to learn this.

Thank you.


Raymond Anthony Fernando
Reply from CEO of NHG Polyclinics, Mr Leong Yew Meng:

"Dear Raymond
I am very happy to learn about your postive experience at AMK Polyclinic. 

Your compliment is certainly a big morale-booster to my colleagues working at the clinic.

We are very proud of many of our outstanding and dedicated staff at NHG polyclinics despite the challenging work environment they have to face daily.

We have always been reminding our staff the importance of seeing our patients as people with unique issues and challenges, and not just a figure.

I am extremely pleased to learn that staff who rendered service to you and Doris have lived up to this service expectation.

You may like to know that Sister Nirmala whom you mentioned in your blog, recently won the Annual Healthcare Humanity Award.

Please also allow me to introduce Dr Karen Ng and Dr Djoni Huang who are the two leaders of this excellent team at AMK Polyclinic.

Karen is the Head and Djoni is the Dy Head of AMK Polyclinic.

Thank you.

Best of health to you, Doris and all in the family.

Leong Yew Meng"

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