I REFER to the letter “Abusing emergency facility” (The Star, Jan 21) and share the writer’s sentiments regarding the misuse of the emergency departments (ED) at government hospitals.
I was formerly a staff at an ED of a government hospital.
From my point of view as a Medical Officer then, there is a lack of understanding or ignorance regarding the term emergency and trauma.
During my service, I have seen families coming over to ED asking to get their father’s blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol level checked at 9pm with no specific complaints.
I had an incident of a patient calling the ambulance service for chest pain but during assessment at ED, it turned out that she just needed a ride to get to her specialist clinic appointment!
Just like how some Malaysian drivers abuse the emergency lane to cut queue, some Malaysians abuse the ED to avoid the long queue at government clinics.
Maybe more can be done by the Health Ministry to educate the public regarding the proper use of emergency departments similar to that done by the UK National Health Service’s Choose Well campaign.
Mild fever that just occurred for a few hours in adults does not need urgent medical attention. Sometimes, tepid sponging, drinking more water and some paracetamol will work.
A medical certificate (MC) can be issued the next day at the local clinic. The need for an MC is not an emergency as well.
Access to basic medical service is a right for every Malaysian, but it is not a right for any Malaysian to abuse the emergency department just for convenience sake.
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