I REFER to the letter ‘‘Trauma faced by some housemen in hospitals” by Disgusted Malaysian (The Star, Dec 8) and the subsequent letters in response.
The abuse has been going on as far back as can be remembered.
So far, only the duration of work hours has been discussed. Even then, no one has really pointed out the planned working hours.
Housemen work beyond the planned hours until they finish their work and they have no grudge about that.
But working 90 hours a week and with no day off (as opposed to the planned hours) has not been addressed. Officially, there is one day off per week.
No one has responded about abusive language being used on them. There are Medical Officers (MO) who shout in the middle of the night and wake the whole ward up. Even the patients fail to get the rest they need.
On the other hand, blue-collar workers have lessened the use of abusive language.
Housemen are made to lose their confidence so that they don’t become good doctors. This type of training belongs to medieval times and we no longer even practise this in schools. Learning in a harsh environment where one loses self-esteem is not in tandem with the current times and a developed country status.
If housemen fail to achieve, deliver or perform, then it is time their mentors, the MOs and specialists, look at themselves. We cannot wait for disasters to happen before we address problems.
Can they put themselves in the shoes of the housemen? They can toughen the housemen in a more humane way, rather than through abuses. In the past, apprentices were abused this way, if their trainers were facing problems of their own.
That was a different era. In the modern era we put our thought processes to work to teach, and not our positions. There is empowerment but not over-empowerment.
A couple of years back, housemen were put on shifts to prevent abuses. But this is on paper only.
In practice, the old ways continue and overtime money is saved. Overworking and abusing housemen is certainly not the way to go. Rules have been made for even maids to prevent exploitation and abuse. Being strict and abusive are worlds apart. We can be strict about proper procedures and punctuality, keeping abuse away.
We can explain our reasons without cursing, which serves no purpose. Do the MOs have to go for educational courses to become better mentors?
We can apply various methods to teach, to speed up things like explaining a patient’s life is at stake. With the abuses, the housemen will not even know the reason.
I have yet to read responses form the mentors as to why abuses happen at the teaching hospital.
Observer Alor Setar The STAR Home News Opinion Letters December 13, 2014