Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I was on call in the operating theater (OT) last night.

It was quite an eventful night. Very taxing, both physically and emotionally.

Then, there was this case which was put up at about 4am in the morning.

There was this 4 year old boy, let’s call him XY, 13 kg, with total amputation of the left middle finger and amputation of the tip of the 4th finger with open fracture of the middle phalanx. Are they going to resuture the finger? – I asked Khalidah. She was not sure either.

The child arrived at the OT. Small and fretful. I could not imagine how mischievous he might have been, to be involved in such accident. He held on to his mother.

Further history from the mother, XY was playing alone when his hand, in her very own words, ‘tersepit kat pintu’. How did it happened?? I blurred, she replied ‘tak tahu lah’. DENIAL. I quickly ran through some short medical and surgical history and examined the child, then pushed him to OR6. (Operating Room 6).

The child was put under general anesthesia and the orthopedic team planned for a refashioning on his fingers, which means, no they were not going to reattach his fingers. This was obvious right from the start – we did not have a hand surgeon in hospital Melaka.

I went through the case notes later, only to discover the hidden agenda. The child was the youngest out of 4 sibling. He was playing alone at home, at the door, when the accident happened. His parents brought him to the hospital only FOUR hours later. The ortho team initially planned to refer and transfer them to Hospital Serdang for reattachment, however, the parents refused for referral because of ‘domestic issues’.


I mean it is difficult to salvage a finger which had been amputated for 4 hours, but if you were the mother, and you know that your kid still have a chance to reattached the amputated limb, wouldn’t you go all out??? And they say mother’s love is the greatest love of all… I cannot be too sure. His father wasn’t around for opinions either. Just because you think you can have as many babies as you like, it does not mean you get to neglect them.



It pains my heart so very much when seeing incidents like that. What if the child grew up and wanted to be a surgeon? What if he wanted to be a pianist? Of course, there is prosthesis and all, but why not give him a chance? It is such a sad story….

To add salt to the wound, rub it in, there was another unfortunate case last night, following that case. 10 year old girl, let’s call her XX, came with amputated right ring finger, case put up by orthopeadic team for refashioning of finger. From the history, it was an accident, the child was riding on a bicycle when her finger caught between the wheel and amputated. I feel sorry for the girl. She would never wear her wedding ring perfectly again. It is so sad.

I think I will not like my next houseman posting – orthopeadics. It is a ‘BRUTAL’ department, I think, with lots of amputations which I could not bear to see. Amputation of finger, or fingers, toes, limbs, BKA, AKA, etc…. I wonder how would I ever survive the OT then.

My GA MO, Soon, newly wed last month, apparently, he shared similar opinions, he said disappointedly, ‘I really cannot understand these parents, how could they leave their kids like this’.
I replied, ‘Soon, when you have kids, please take good care of them’

i think parent-ship can be one of the biggest challenges... 
sometimes, i wonder how my parents did it...
they must have been like SUPER MOM and SUPER DAD...
how i missed you...
will be home soon...

(p/s: names and demographic data had been modified to preserve confidentiality)


  1. Hear! Hear! Children are gifts from God. Cherish them, appreciate them and love them as you would want God to love you.

  2. hi, i was blog hopping and found this! it's hard to believe that there are parents like these out there and it angers me that the mother couldn't care less about the child!

  3. I'm an Ortho of the few females to be in Ortho. Labelling ortho as a "BRUTAL" dept shows ur ignorance in ortho...just as those who call ortho surgeons as carpenter are equally ignorant. What will happen if refashioning was not done those cases u mentioned above? And what about those BKA's and AKA's not done on septic patients or traumatic limb amputations post MVA? And mind u besides amputations & refashioning, we do fix patients back when possible. after u go thru ortho, you won't be saying what u did.

  4. dear STP, Encik Blogger & Iswari,
    yes... i agree with you all... sometimes, it's surprising what we can observe from the world today.. the people... have hope, faith and love..

  5. dear jasmine, thank you for your fruitful comment, allow me to elaborate,.. i admire your strength and courage as an ortho MO, and perhaps in future, an ortho surgeon,.. not many people (what more women), have the strength to witness limb amputation, and others of the sorts... what i meant was, like, some people faint at the sight of blood, and some people close their eyes when limbs and heads were chopped off in a movie... the scene can sometimes be too scary or 'brutal' to see... hence the word 'brutal' -in open and closed inverted commas- was trying to expressed that feeling... i hope you do not get offended by the term... and do keep up the good work, i'm sure you'll have helped many patients and you'll be a great orthopedic surgeon some day... like they say, cut a limb, save a life...

    p/s: hoping for a good ortho posting... hopefully, it may change me, for the better ^^

  6. good emotions u put on your post..i am a doctor too..and hate it when people say doctors dont have emotions..


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Author's Note

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of love

Today, i heard a story which was not a story of falling...
of living in the dark end of winter turmoil..
instead, it was a love story..
of a couple who did not live happily ever after...
but they live, loving each other..