I spoke to a doctor friend of mine retired recently from Government service and he lamented the declining standard of the nurses and the medical assistants.
Medical assistants were formerly known as Hospital assistants. In the sixties and seventies, most of the district hospitals could not be run without the HAs. They were like the barefoot doctors,. They helped to man the emergency service in rural hospitals, helped run the outpatients clinics, stitched up wounds and lacerations, set up drips, catheterised patients who could not pass urine…. In short, they were great assistants to the doctors then.
HAs are trained in government institute locally just like the nurses. My doctor friend told me that the standard now is so horrid that some of them cannot even stitch up a wound properly. Diagnosis wise, they were world apart from the old HAs/MAs.
We wondered whether the latest death in NS camp has anything to do with wrong diagnosis by the MAs in charge. If the cause of death is toxic megacolon, which is due to infection, I would like to ask a few questions: where is the source of infections, from food or water? When did the MAs realise that this is not a simple case of abdominal colic ? The treatment of toxic megacolon (which can kill very fast and is one of the medical emergencies) depends on early diagnosis and the speedy adminstration of correct treatment which may include surgical removal of a section of the colon involved.
How good is our MAs and Nurses nowadays ?
Did we lower the passing marks for these people dealing with life and death situation? We need honest answers to really solve the declining standard of MAs and nurses. If these people are incompetent, then unnecessary deaths cannot be avoided in camps and even hospitals.
I view this as part of the greater problems of loss of excellence in practically all aspects of Malaysian life.The examples are so numerous . Just to cite a few:
In football, we were among the last in rankings. in hockey where once we were feared and respected, we are ow an also-run.
Our universities were ranked lower and lower; Our judiciary is in a mess (waiting for the Lingam tape report); our crime situation is much worse than 10 or 20 yrs back due to you-konw-what;
our civil service is not as efficient as before (that I suspect is one of the reasons that government has raised the retirement age; without the present badge of pengarahs and so on, the younger generations taking over cannot even speak good and decent English- how to get knowledge and ideas from other countries?)
Despite the hundreds of all As students produced, the level of knowledge among these all As students are not even half as good as those all As in the sixties and seventies;
construction wise, houses are not built as solid as before; new schemes are full of problems like leaking roof, cracking walls; even MRR2 had to be closed for repair some time back.
What we need is to gain back the excellence that Malaysia has lost. To do it, there is no other way but to practise true meritocracy and fair competition among all races. In addition, education needs to be reviewed wholesome. Only with that, can attitude be changed and can a culture of responsibility and good work ethics be developed.