The last time I spent nights in a hospital must be quite a while back, in early nineties when my my daughter was undergoing treatment for ascending chulangitis a repercussion of her biliary atresia condition. That was back in the old paediatric unit in KL hospital. I wrote about the experience in my department’s monthly newsletter. It was really a harrowing experience that you wouldn’t want to go through again. It was like a battle zone.
So when the cyst on my neck swelled like a full bloom plum I went to the Tanglin Clinic and I was quickly referred to a hospital. I chosed Ampang hospital because that is the latest hospital in KL area and I do not have to fight a war to get a parking space. The emergency department is really modern with ample seatings and freezing air condition – they provide blankets for the waiting patients. It must have been a busy day, I had to wait for three hours until I got to see the medical officer. But the emergency department has a clever system to sift and filter the incoming patients. Two doctors (well they looked like doctors to me with stethoscopes dangling from their necks) will assess incoming patients to determine whether their case merit a red, yellow or green action. For obvious reasons, mine was quickly assessed to be green and then only I was registered. To make sure a patient is quickly attended to, a medical assistant was on hand as a first line of help. This what I called clever, your queue number would be quickly called up, in fact mine was called only after 45 seconds. In the hospital queue system, a customer was attended to within 45 seconds, a definite plus points for the customer care star rating systems done by the Public Service department. Never mind that I had to wait for another three hours to see the medical officer,it was not recorded into the systems anymore. Within the three hours, I heard a few announcements calling for doctors to the emergency room and a few announcements calling next of kin to enter the emergency room. Sad.
As I was saying, three hours later, a lady medical officer gave a quick assessment of the now blooming cyst, or sebaceous cyst rather as she called it and decided to ward me for quick operation to remove the cyst. Since I had to be at the palace the next day I had to plead with her to give me a one a half day reprieve. OK but I had to sign a note of consent absolving the hospital of any misdemeanor should anything happen to me after that. All very professional. But she reminded me that I had to go through the registration rigmarole all over again on thursday. No short cuts? Nothing doing. Very professional indeed.
So, immediately after my palace experience (with painful neck), I rushed to Ampang hospital again, went through the same process and after one hour my number called to room 5. A gentleman doctor this time went through the same routine and he managed to retrieve the report made two days earlier by the lady doctor. At last they are using the telehealth system. Wait, He had to consult the surgeon on duty, a Punjabi lady doctor. While waiting for her I make a quick exit for a quick dinner only to hear my name being called over the loud speaker. That is something new, normally the doctor or the attending nurse would simply shout the name of the patient. She make a quick assessment with same set of standard questions and told me to wait. Wait. It was not until 7pm before I was admitted into ward 5D. I was told to wait for the medical officer in charge of the ward to check, depending on the availability of the operating theatre. So I had to spent the night at the hospital. A far better place than the paediatric hospital in the 90s. The room was spacious with four patients to a room. This is the normal ward mind you, the second class ward was closed as the aircond is not working. Despite the anxiousness over the pending operation, I had a peaceful night. After messaging the boss of my condition, I went into a real untroubled sleep.