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Hello, I blog!

I write with no particular theme in mind, because I am random like that.

Sep
26 2009

Medical professionals, ethics and religion

I’ve had my first (and last) consultation with a general surgeon today, and returned home with a slightly diminished level of respect for the medical profession (and zilch respect for surgeons in general) and a mind that is still boggling at the ridiculousness of the whole situation.

If you’ve been following my Twitter updates during the past few hours, you’ll understand why I am so miffed.

My impression of him was mediocre at best during the first few minutes of my consultation. He wasn’t very personable, and basically treated the patient (me) like “just another object he has to deal with in his line of work.”

That impression went on a further downward spiral when he snapped at me later during the consultation.

Don’t you question me! Just do what I tell you to do” was his abrupt, arrogant response, when I asked him about my physio treatment and what it was for, and how he came up with his eventual prognosis.

Excuse me? I am the patient. I have every right to question you on what you are going to do and the rationale behind any treatment I need,” I retorted in response.

I am paying YOU for your time. Additionally, it is MY treatment and MY body that it affects. I have every right to know what is going on. It is a basic right, a given entitlement to any patient.

Is it so difficult for you to open your mouth to explain, given your experience and standing in your profession? Also considering that I am paying you a hundred buckeroos for a 20-minute long consultation?

It doesn’t just end at his lack of emotional quotient.

Unfortunately for me, Mister Surgeon happened to be a preachy religion advocate too.

Disclaimer:
For the record, I have absolutely nothing against religious people. I respect them for their beliefs and in return, they respect me for mine. However, I have zero tolerance towards those who don’t.

Towards the end of the consultation – just as I was about to leave – Mister Surgeon told me that “I should start praying more.

“I don’t pray,” I informed him. (For the record, I am agnostic.)

That was when he turned to my mother and asked what religion we were. Mum informed him that my family members are free-thinkers while I am an agnostic. In response, Mister Surgeon began to tut.

Ah, no wonder! You’re not praying at all! That’s why you are sick all the time and not recovering!” says he, visibly showing his displeasure.

My patience snapped.

Excuse me? YOU have YOUR beliefs and I have MINE. I have the prerogative to choose what I want or do not want to believe in, and you do not impose your beliefs on others.

The consultation ended on that note.

However, my encounter with Mister Surgeon didn’t end there.

A few minutes later, mum and I returned to the clinic as she wanted to ask the nurse some questions. Mister Surgeon happened to be at the waiting room at the time and approached me when he saw me.

“Let’s leave your mum and my nurse to talk. You don’t need to listen to them. Let’s go outside,” says he.

I was immediately on guard.

“Why?” I asked. “They are talking about my medical situation. I can stay around and listen in if I want to.

“Let’s go to the lift area. I want to talk to you spiritually,” says he. I didn’t respond. I simply glared at him.

“Well you see, God is asking me to talk to you,” he continues.

I continued glaring, still not responding. If he is so dense to the point of being unable to grasp the fact that I am not fucking interested and that people are able to live fulfilling lives without having to believe in some supernatural power, I am not going to dignify him with a response.

Mister Surgeon eventually threw his hands into the air and momentarily exeunted. However, he returned to the scene a coupla’ minutes later with the following conclusion – “I shouldn’t try to push God to you. You will end up becoming very angry with God. But I just know that in the future, one day – you WILL go to God!

Whatever.

Very nice try at self-convincing, Mister Surgeon. But sorry, you are still in denial of the fact that people do not need to have a religion to be happy.

And what’s with all that hogwash about “being angry with God”? If there is a God, I doubt there will be anything wrong with him. There are those who fervently subscribe to their religions, knowing exactly what it entails. But deluded followers like you, Mister Surgeon, is WHAT’S WRONG.

Attributing my (lack of) religion as a reason to why my health is deteriorating when YOU are a medical specialist?! Oh, come on. You have more than 50 years in the medical field. What is your excuse for coming up with something as baseless and insensitive as that?

That is honestly, stepping over the line, not to mention the height of unprofessionalism. In fact, this goes against the Code of Medical Ethics.

A physician shall treat patients as equals and not allow race, religion, political views or social status to have any effect on his actions towards them.

As a surgeon, specialist or any kind of medical doctor, thou shall respect thy patients’ right to choice, as well as their personal space and privacy. The relationship is to be maintained strictly at a professional level so as to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Introducing elements such as religion into the picture – especially Mister Surgeon’s pushy attempts at imposing his religion upon yours’ truly (despite my attempts at refusal) – is quite obviously, out of self-interest and basically shatters what’s remaining of the trust and mutual respect in the relationship.

In fact – based on feedback from my followers on Twitter and comments on my Facebook Profile – I have a substantial enough case to lodge a report with the hospital administration, which I won’t because I just can’t be arsed to.

I don’t care if you gained your medical degree in 1966 (with more than 40 years of experience under your belt). I don’t give a fuck if you have been accepted as a fellowship for some Surgeon’s society in 1970 (which is still, way before I was born). With EQ like that, you shouldn’t even become a doctor to begin with, let alone a surgeon.

I’m never stepping into your clinic again, that is for sure. You do not have my respect and my trust, and you never will. You may be educationally qualified but you’re scum in my eyes, as far as today goes.

How I wish I’ve gotten over the initial shock at the situation so I could have better articulated to Mister Surgeon exactly what I thought of him on the spot, and my distaste towards his actions.

Dec
04 2008

The woes of budget airline travel

Never did realize that making bookings for budget airline travel can be like … dabbling in the stock market.

The prices fluctuate like woah.

Recently, I witnessed first hand how a friend was practically on the edge of his seat as he constantly made calls to the airline’s hotline – and reporting how the airfare for the same particular flight was leaping by tens every twenty minutes or so.

He made a booking for a flight to Kuala Lumpur in the afternoon at the cost of only … about $40-50 SGD.

This evening, he proceeded to check the price again (supposedly to add me into the original booking) and discovered that the price was now a whooping $137 SGD.

He called later again and the price was in the $140s.

Grace and I were pretty worried that the same thing could happen to us because we were intending to book flights for our trip to Hong Kong next month, from the same airline.

I recall checking the prices for our flight sometime last weekend – and it was standing at $359 SGD.

This evening, we looked up the price again, and were delighted to find that the total price had fallen to $299 SGD all inclusive. (With our return flight only costing $43 SGD (excluding surcharges and taxes).

But we held back the booking for a while – because we still had some final arrangements to make.

Four hours ago, I logged into the airline’s website to double-check the prices … and did a double take because the price for our original return flight had more than doubled … from $43 SGD to $200+ SGD – excluding surcharges and taxes. That’s practically costing an arm and a leg in comparison to the prices we saw earlier.

That was when I texted Grace in panic – and we decided to book right then on the spot, lest the prices surged further.

The later return flight (an alternative to our original intended flight) was comparatively cheaper ($119 SGD excluding surcharges and taxes), leading to a total cost of $375 SGD all inclusive per person.

That was the price we were supposed to get while I made my booking.

Or so I thought.

After filling in all our personal details and credit card information, I clicked on ‘confirm’. That was when I looked at receipt, and did a double take.

W.T.F?!

Why was I charged $762 for two people?!

Did a re-check on the price. Apparently, the price per person had been bumped up by a further $6 SGD while I was busily filling in the reservation form.

Grarrr!

Sidenote: The additional $12 ($6 per person x 2) is not due to the facilitation fee as seen in the screenshot above. Everything was inclusive in the quotation I received earlier.

Blame my slow typing skills or whatsoever. (Although I generally type pretty fast, albeit not fast enough to beat this c*cked up system.)

Ah well, too bad.

Air tickets have already been paid for. No point harping on it, aye? Just sit back and bask in the happiness that our trip to Hong Kong has now already been booked.

Four hours later (20 minutes ago) …

I decided to re-access the airline booking system to check out the prices again. (My main motive was to hope that the prices would have risen further so that I can laugh at how I had managed to secure our air tickets before the further price escalations.)

I was in for a shock.

Apparently, the prices for our original intended return flight had dropped all over again … from the earlier $200 odd SGD back to $43 SGD!

$43?!

Can someone just say, ARGHHHHHH?!

I don’t know why this is happening – but my guess is that the airline presumed no nutcase out there will be making flight bookings at 4 A.M. and thus reduced the price to match the lower demand. (For the record, I made my booking at midnight.)

Counting all the possible surcharges and taxes, the total flight cost per person would have been …

$299 SGD

-BIGFATSIGH-

Heartache. We practically overpaid by $80 SGD.

And Grace dear – I don’t know whether you’d be laughing or fuming at this point in time. But … I think we’ve just been successfully manipulated (and screwed over) by Jetstar’s online booking system.

Patent trolls

A SINGAPORE firm has threatened to sue websites that use pictures or graphics to link to another page, claiming it owns the patent for a technology used by millions around the world. In a move that has come under fire from the online community, VueStar Technologies has sent ‘invoices’ to local website operators asking for thousands of dollars in licensing fees …

Credit to a Straits Times excerpt (Paid subscription required).
(Read another full article here.)

Quite a few people have already been smacked with an invoice, charging them for use of their so-called technology.

Doesn’t this violate the fundamental rule about patents being that “the technology cannot be something obvious“?

Using images to link to other websites has been around for ages, goddamnit!

And furthermore – when I was a little kid learning HTML, I figured out how to link to other websites using images all by my tiny self without help from any web tutorials/books/what have yous – that is HOW FUCKING OBVIOUS the concept is!

And that was in 1997, waaaay before this so-called patent even existed.

There is talk that because the duration of the patent is coming to an end, the company is seeking to reap as much benefit they can from the patent by smacking charges on people before the patent officially expires.

Patent troll – that was the term people used. I absolutely agree. Typical, money-minded companies using the umbrella of their patent (and its associated rights and laws) to bully the rest of the online community into feeding their (money) faces.

If THAT is called a patent, then I can also go and patent simple, day by day tasks of walking, breathing and eating. (An annual license of $1000 payable for each action, perhaps?)

And plus, the nutcases who approved that sorry excuse of a patent better go get their heads checked. That patent was approved in 2003. Two FUCKING thousand and THREE. My circle of internet friends back then (plus my fellow bloggers) have been using images to link to other websites long before that. Perhaps even when God was still wearing diapers.

This is what I call the height of ridiculousness. Thank you for putting Singapore on the map for laughing stocks.

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