Hospitals with 'heart and soul' needed

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 26 Mar 2003

PENANG: Private hospitals should have a heart for the community by being patient-friendly and caring, Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said yesterday.  

He said he would like to see more hospitals “with a heart and soul”, adding that the community would know how to respond to hospitals that practised generosity and kindness. 

“Hospitals that are patient-friendly, especially to those who cannot afford it, will be blessed with more patients going there as word of their caring and charity and their adherence to the ethics of the medical profession gets around the community,” he told reporters at the second anniversary celebrations of the Gleneagles Medical Centre's Friends of Children with Heart Disease support group. 

He commended the group, which has about 1,000 members including 200 children who have been operated on, for providing children who had heart problems with the emotional and psychological support they required. 

“Imagine if you have a baby and discover that he or she has major health problems, such as a congenital heart problem, that requires expensive, dangerous and risky treatment. 

“When you are tensed up with this kind of problems on how to treat and handle the child, this Is the time you require help from support groups,” he said, adding that he hoped such groups that were muhibbah (multi-racial) in nature would become common in private hospitals. 

The medical centre's consultant paediatrician and paediatric cardiologist and adviser to the support group, Dr Sim Joo Seng, said that for every 100 children born, there was at least one with heart disease. 

He said about 30% of them would require some form of open-heart surgery and another 15% would require some form of catheter interventional procedures, while at least 10% would require urgent surgery that could only be done in a few hospitals. 

He also said the best providers of emotional and psychological support to the families of children with heart disease were fellow parents who had gone through this journey before, and called for more parents to come forward to provide support to others who were going through the same predicament. 

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