Sunday, December 4, 2005

People can be heartless?

Is it true people are heartless nowadays?  If so, how do we explain the millions in cash and kind they collect for earthquake and tsunami victims?   Or is it institutions and organizations with rules and regulations and the necessity to define everything to a “T” that create the dilemma we’re in?


I’m talking about the case of the student who died while waiting for a relative to come up with RM5000 before the private hospital could proceed to save his life, here are my thoughts.


Is it a tragic catch 22 situation we’re looking at?  Or is it the chicken and egg?  The question begs answering: To provide emergency life-saving procedures without the deposit or red tape or look at every admission as a $$$?  Standard Operating Procedures may be necessary, but when it comes to a decision as to what constitutes an “emergency case” who can decide on that?  As soon as a doctor is called he starts charging his time, and the administration counter starts ticking.  The trouble is; people who handle the admissions may sometimes get ticked off if they made the wrong decision.  And to protect themselves they put things on hold.  Or they stick fast to the so-called rules.  If the “case’ expires at the doorstep, the admission guy may just say it’s the rules, or he may suffer the guilt of having “killed” someone because he had to follow the rules. 


So, the question to ask is: Is there a clearly defined condition as to what constitutes an “Emergency Case” or should it be imperative for all hospitals to alleviate pain and suffering before the question of payment is asked?  I’m not familiar enough with such things but I believe these definitions are usually not so clear cut.  Those in the profession should know better.  To save lives as well as to save the health industry from being run down to the ground by dubious cases and bad debts, the Health Ministry and private hospitals must come to terms with the conditions and find a justifiable solution. 


Continuing my train of thought, about SOPs being clear cut; how detail can you get to ensure the elimination of error in judgment or to prevent deviations from the procedure?  All this goes back to the human factor.  Has our rote-learning educational culture produced a breed of workers and decision makers who can’t think out of the box?  Are our people now operating without their powers of reasoning, but depend solely on operating procedures (which is what some department managers and auditors argue about when they think certain instruction manuals are not detailed enough)? 


As in the previous case of the naked ear-squatting issue that rocked the two nations involved, we will probably be back to arguing on the point of procedures, principles, personal responsibility, accountability leading to decision making and risk management. 


Perhaps it should be the top of our agenda to teach the future generations that power comes with responsibility.  And if one is not willing to accept the responsibility, then one should not be given that power.  Recent events have shown that some of those in power don’t seem to be even remotely responsible for what they said or did and instead come out with all kinds of lame or side-stepping excuses.  Maybe I forget that it is the bottom-line or the almighty dollar that dictates every decision everyone is taught to make from the moment he/she starts to learn how to think?


Nice sunny Sunday afternoon, but my mind is still rambling over all these issues.  Wonder if I think too much.  Any volunteered opinions?


By the way, I forgot to add that this is how students are taught in here: Think_only_what_I_Tell_You and they are definitely getting fed up about it.

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