Sunday, November 30, 2008

Doctors are human too, not God..

i was surprised to see this article on the Headlines of The Star, this morning..... seriously, i wonder where does Tan Sri gets his data... and base on what parameters do he want to screen the students? MMSE? personality test??

and i think, sometimes, they tend to forget that doctors are human too, not God.... under such circumstances; not just the work load and ridiculously long on-call hours, these doctors are not just physically but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually challenged... knowing that you have done your very best, yet you could not help the patient further... losing hope, seeing deaths,... tears and disappointments,.. under such circumstances, anyone with a heart may break... many people falls into depression with MDD(Major Depressive Disorder)... should we deny this group of people treatment and the chance to live their dreams?

more importantly is when people break, they should be allowed a moment to weap, learn, heal, recover and rise again.. i have known doctors, good doctors, who had psychiatry illnesses like MDD and general anxiety, yet, having symptoms under controlled, they make a great doctor...

and i believe that medical school is just a small part of life, if we cannot handle the stress in med school, the future would be very difficult for us... passing exams is not the hardest thing in medical school, but rather, learning and obtaining as much skills, knowledge and wisdom as possible within these 5 years, so that we can use them to help our patients, heal illnesses, save lives - that is perhaps an even tougher thing to do...

give your very best for each patient..

do your best, and let God do the rest...

The Article from The Star:

Sunday November 30, 2008

At least five doctors to suffer from mental woes every month


KUALA LUMPUR: Every month, at least five doctors are found to be suffering from mental illnesses, director-general of health Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said.
He said these doctors were either psychotic or neurotic but still managed to get into medical schools because these schools were not screening students meticulously enough.
“When the doctors complete their two-year housemanship and their applications are submitted for registration with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC), they fail to get registered.
“Their supervisors do not certify them as fit to be registered because of indiscipline and poor attitude arising from mental health problems.
“The mental cases range from psychotic to neurotic. Psychotic cases include delusions and hallucinations, and neurotic behaviour includes anxiety, fear and anger due to the competitive environment,” said Dr Ismail.
These medical graduates, totalling about 60 cases a year, are unable to cope with their housemanship as they may have been pressured by their parents to take up medicine.
Dr Ismail said it was disheartening to note this emerging trend due to an inefficient selection process, adding that the mental cases were referred to the Medical Review Panel (MRP).
Since many of these graduates have spent a lot of money on their medical education, the MRP may extend their housemanship and at the same time send them for psychiatric treatment.
“In the event they are assigned to work, they will be thoroughly supervised and counselled by experts and given light duties until their mental condition improves.
“I am not so sure whether we can identify those with attitude problems during an interview unless such problems are obvious,” Dr Ismail said at a forum on Training Future Doctors: Have we got it right?
About 2,000 medical doctors are registered annually from 21 local medical schools and 400 recognised schools overseas.
Different medical schools around the world have different selection criteria for their students, Dr Ismail said.
However, he said that the ministry was also planning some form of examination to check their attitude, knowledge and experience after they complete their final examination.
Most of the mentally ill students, he said, could have undergone pressure and depression while studying and faced difficulty in coping in a hospital environment.
The other weakness was a lack of proficiency in the English language.
Higher Education director-general Prof Datuk Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi said the ministry was currently reviewing universities’ curricula to ensure high standards in medical education and training for doctors.
“Uppermost on our minds will be the safety and well-being of patients,” he said.


  1. I hope I don't have to face a mentally ill doctor who treat me in the future.

  2. i totally second that!

    it's sad, sometimes they see drs as this god-like creature that is competent and able to handle any situation like a pro.

    we are not. we are humans. sometimes we are sad, sometimes we are happy, sometimes we break down.

    what tat wud have been a better solution wud be for them to assess what makes medical students breakdown and how to help them overcome it.

    coz most of the time, those that slip into such problems, are probably those that really CARE and let's it consume them. sigh.

  3. psychiatric illness really depends the way to handle things n emotion...
    get urself protected emotionally and have a good support system... then it is not tat easy to obtain psy illness....
    fortunately , in the uni, with u all....have keeping the psy illness from us....

  4. I think you are sane enough judging by the way you wrote your there must be something wrong with the statistics...keke..just kidding..

    Hope you are not mad since i brought up your attention on the article..

    P.S..doctors exam seems to be very stressful..good thing i am not a doc..hehe..if not, i sure be one of the statistics.

  5. Any course u go and ask, of course there are a bunch who are not that passionate of their own profession. The fact is they blame in on the lack of commitment, where I think it is a multifactorial health issue. There must be something wrong with the work system at least, but the health director-general point his finger at one aspect only.

    Now is the time of the year where SPM and STPM exams have just finished, with the students deciding their future path. I wonder if this plays a part in discouraging the students from flocking to the med field. :P

  6. they see us like god yet never listen to us like we are one.. damn irony..

    maybe this is the first step of a big conspiracy.. make ppl know we are sick, den say naik gaji.. den we end up with more gaji in the future.. LOL! wish it is that simple!

    but seriously neurosis and psychosis how to scan before enter med school? -_-'

    the long working hours and responsibility, neurosis is naturally laa, like came with a packet with the job. LOL

  7. borneo falcon, i guess that's how it feels, being a patient.. but mentally ill has many different definition and aspect.. the society has a 'stigma' for the mentally ill, but not all are harmful... major depressive disorder, general anxiety, OCD, etc are all part of psychiatry problems too.. but they can be managed...

    i can't help thinking, why just doctors? don't you think other professions like bus drivers, commuter drivers, police, soldiers??? why so bias towards dr wor?

    zzzyun, i know, it's sad... that's why med students are trained to handle stress, to handle endless assignments, impossible amount of facts to remember, on-calls, exams.. some terribly challenging ones... to be scolded at rounds, commented, sometimes to the extend of being humiliated.. i think, we all grew immune to it, to some extend.. sometimes, perhaps, we were trained to build a stronger wall, a thicker mask, so we don't break...

    i mean, like when breaking bad news, if we ourselves break, how can we comfort the family members.. on busy back-to-back calls, if we break, patients suffer... we need to understand that we do not have to go through this alone.. and many doctors have gone through it, we can do it too..

    zzzyun, have faith,hope, and love.. ^^
    im sing, the university indeed is a protected environment... but don't worry, when you go out to the workplace, you will have supportive friends and colleagues too... i think we can manage and survive housemanship and prove all the imaginary data wrong! =)
    kris, don't worry, i am not mad at you, at all.. i saw the news that morning, before you told me about it.. so, it's okay.. i just don't like the way the government is handling this problem.. they think of screening the students before entering med school.. why don't they ask themselves, why do people break, in the first place? the stressors and all... i suppose, if they perform an MMSE on all the students who apply for med school, none of them will have positive results.. they forgotten that it is impossible for schizophrenic patients to score in exams, what more a string of A's.. the important distinctive features of schizophenic patients is the deterioration in function... and as for MDD, being so depressed, and anhedonic, do you think they can perform... these doctors, they can be help, after what they have done for the people, perhaps it's about time to help them instead.. that's the least we can do..
    yee ming, yeah, i wonder after reading such news, would parents 'forbid' or discourage their children to take up medicine.. medicine is a challenging yet noble profession... NOT a profession that drives one crazy... we need doctors, and we need strong, determined, passionate, loving and compassionate doctors...
    bingwui, not like 'god' lar... but patients expect doctors to be perfect, FLAWLESS! they want us to be like some magical 'bomoh' who can look at them and tell them the problem (eg: kena jampi), then give them some 'air suci' and solve the problem.. the thing is, WE ARE NOT BOMOH...

    neurosis, maybe to a certain extend.. stress management and CBT would be helpful.. certain level of depression, i think everyone had experience it before... imagine when you were one the few better students in your school, some even the best, then you come to this new environment, compete with over-smart-ass-es from all over the country, some super passionate and over-enthu, and the workload and expectations were sky high.. and you had to work harder, push yourself to the limits... and when you reach the very end, the very limit, you don't know what else to do.. so ya... oh well.... life goes on...

    nola, it's not that terrible, yet...

  8. Check out this letter, written by my friend, who also happen to be a doctor


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