Saturday, June 16, 2007

Horror tales drive mums-to-be away from public hospitals

NST: SOME expectant mothers are willing to fork out RM5,000 to RM9,000 to deliver their babies in private hospitals.
There was a time when delivering babies at private hospitals was a luxury for many. But ’push’ factors at government hospitals, including overworked nurses, appear to be sending more expectant mothers to private establishments — and higher bills. ARMAN AHMAD and MINDERJEET KAUR explore the phenomenon.

Crude language that would make old wives blush, generally poor treatment and a shocking lack of sympathy are driving more expectant mothers to private hospitals these days.
More are paying through their nose to have peace of mind and a conducive environment at delivery.
Some would rather borrow to pay the RM5,000 to RM9,000 sum asked by private hospitals than settle the bill of RM100 or thereabouts at public hospitals.
Horror stories like that told by Haslinda Hassan, 32, are almost unimaginable.
She was in pain and anxious as it was her first delivery and, as fate would have it, got a nurse from hell.
"Another patient and I were in pain. One of us called the nurse for assistance, hoping for some words of encouragement.
"Instead, the nurse snapped, ‘When you were making the baby, you enjoyed it but when it’s time to deliver, you cannot bear it. Just bear it’."
Such insensitive words at a most vulnerable time shocked Haslinda. This was not how she had imagined her first delivery to be.
The experience left such a lasting impression that she advised a cousin to opt for a private hospital.
"I didn’t want my cousin to go through the same agony as what the other lady and I went through," she said.
Her cousin spent RM9,000 — 90 times more than she would at a government hospital — for a hassle-free delivery.
In another case, first-time mother Fazliana Ahmad, 27, decided to have the best of both worlds by scheduling her delivery at the University Malaya Medical Centre, a semi-government hospital.
She had contractions from 9pm until 5am the next day.
"All was fine and the nurses and doctors were helpful. But the post-delivery care was terrible as the medical assistants were rough while stitching and cleaning me up.
"I was feeling very weak and told them to be gentle but there were no changes," she said.
Another first-time mother, Fazlina Suhaimi, said everything went wrong at her hospital before her delivery.
She had to walk all the way from her car to the registration counter although being close to delivery as the nurses had miscalculated her contractions.
"I had gone earlier but they said it wasn’t time yet. When I came back, my cervix was already open and I was about to give birth. Yet, I walked from the car park to the hospital counter."
But her troubles were far from over as she had to endure several minutes of torture at the registration counter.
"I kept telling the nurses there that I could not stand the pain. Only after some time did they relent and take me into the delivery room," she said.
For Zurina Abdullah, what distressed her most at the government hospital she went to was the general air of indifference to women about to deliver.
"When I asked if my husband could be with me before I went into delivery, the response I got from a nurse was ‘everyone feels the same kind of pain when they deliver’ and that was that," she said.
The 28-year-old hypermarket employee said there was a world of difference between service at government and private hospitals.
She said most of her friends dare not go to government hospitals for delivery because of the horror stories they had heard about the services.
"Most of them are willing to go into debt to deliver in private hospitals."
She said she and her husband could not afford to go to a private hospital and "I suppose you get what you pay for".
"But I will try to make sure that my next baby will be born in a private hospital," she said.

No comments: