A complaint letter

[Wednesday, 27 September, 2006]

Gilbert had rectified my language and contents of a letter written in rage; it had somehow demoralised me but definitely made me realise how incompetent I was. He prompted me with many questions and left the final editing to me.

In the end, I did not send it to the officials that I wished to complain to; I was quite lost.

The original letter:

I am writing this email to express a big displease and shame on the service of your hospital.

Last Wednesday, I had an operation done by Doctor Mathew George Sebastian from Clinic “C” and the description of the surgical procedures was “Excision of Left Lateral Gastrocnemius Haemangioma”.

My calf and foot on the operated leg are still swelling after a week and there are blood cots on both sides of the foot just above the heel, which are around four by two centimetres big. Another concern is the discharge on the lowest portion of the wound.

As I had an appointment with the Neuro-Surgery department at Clinic “E” today, after waiting for more than an hour as usual, I mentioned about the urgent problems to the doctor at room “6”. He told me to go to Clinic “C” and insist for a check-up immediately because the discharge might cause an infection.

My mum and I got very concern and we went to the treatment room (room 10) at Clinic “C” as instructed at around 1230h. The nurse inside, however, told us that Doctor Mathew was doing an operation at the moment. I requested for just any doctor or medical staff to inspect on my wound but this nurse claimed that only Doctor Mathew knew about my problems. She offered me to push my next appointment forward from two weeks later (091006) to next Monday (021006) or Tuesday (031006) but I declined.

I am sure you, a worthy and dedicated staff of the hospital, or even just a normal non-medical trained person would see the problems.

I wish to clarify my doubts.

1. Will the hospital bear full responsible if my wound gets infected or worsens?
2. Is your well-reputation hospital training staffs to say no to patient instead of finding a better solution?
3. Is the documentation done properly enough each time to maintain details of my problems/injuries so that other doctors can see to my problems?
4. Are all doctors in your hospital, other than Doctor Mathew, trained to treat problems with swelling, blood cots and discharge of wounds?
5. If Doctor Mathew leaves the working force of the hospital one day unfortunately, do I have to forsake my wound?

On my personal view, your staffs are pushing away responsibility. As Singapore is trying to promote our excellent medical treatment in Asia, this will act as opposition to the proposal.

Hereby, I wish to seek an explanation to my questions and hope that my future experience with your hospital will be better when your staffs are more enthusiastic.

The finalised letter:

Re: Dissatisfaction with SGH’s services and seeking resolution to my medical condition

Last Wednesday (200906), I had an operation done by Doctor Mathew George Sebastian from Clinic “C” and the description of the surgical procedures was “Excision of Left Lateral Gastrocnemius Haemangioma”.

My calf and foot on the operated leg are still swelling after a week and there are blood cots on both sides of the foot just above the heel, which are around four by two centimetres big. Another concern is the discharge on the lowest portion of the wound.

I had an appointment with the Neuro-Surgery department at Clinic “E” today, which concerned a separated health issue. I went into room “6” after waiting for more than an hour. The doctor knew about my recent operation and I took the chance to explain my worries about the development of my condition regarding the operation. He told me I had the right to go to Clinic “C” immediately and insist Doctor Mathew to do a check-up because the discharge might cause an infection.

Afterwards I went to the treatment room “10” at Clinic “C” as instructed at around 1230h. The nurse inside, however, told us that Doctor Mathew was doing an operation at the moment. I requested for any doctor or medical staff who could inspect my wound but the nurse claimed that only Doctor Mathew knew about my problems; even so I was sure any doctor currently on duty could easily inspect my wound, which would not take up much of their time. Instead, she offered to push my next appointment forward from two weeks later (091006) to next Monday (021006) or Tuesday (031006) but I declined as I needed at least an explanation to check on the seriousness of my condition and if it required immediate medical attention. I refused to leave at first and showed her my operated leg but she claimed that there was no dark area around the bandage and thus there should be no infection; she did not remove the bandage. She suggested me to go to a polyclinic or directly to the A&E department if I was worried, which I thought was very unprofessional to push me away. I was very disappointed and left the hospital.

I wish to clarify my doubts.

1. Will the hospital bear full responsibility if my wound gets infected or worsened since it is not treated on the spot?
2. Are my medical records ready and available so that other doctors could have seen to my problems?
3. Are there any other doctors in your hospital, other than Doctor Mathew, trained to treat problems with swelling, blood cots and discharge of wounds after operation?

From my point of view, your staffs were pushing away responsibility or perhaps they were not trained to provide simple immediate resolutions. As Singapore is trying to promote our excellent medical services in Asia, the service rendered to me seemed to be compromising the hospital’s reputation.

Hereby, I wish to seek an explanation to my problems and resolutions to my medical condition mentioned above. I hope that my future experience with your hospital will be a better one and would appreciate if u could contact me as soon as possible.

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