The Unheard Side Of Hartal — Dr Tango

By CodeBlue |

Seeing patients, taking their blood pressure, taking their bloods, doing all paperwork…I can’t do it alone. But I will have to if everyone takes off.

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Today is July the 26th. I wonder what you will be doing?

I know what my friends will be doing though. They will be participating in the #HartalDoktorKontrak strike, and not come to work on the day itself.

As a contract doctor myself, I am very proud of their initiative and effort. I thank them for speaking up for contract doctors like myself.

But we are working in one of the hospitals in the Klang Valley. You see reports about the hospital being short on oxygen and patients filling up the morgue? Yup that’s my workplace.

You probably won’t hear about us frontliners being burned out on social media because we will do our best for our patients. That keeps me going, even though I am crying myself to sleep almost every day because of the workload. However, I am happy because I am helping people.

Since April, I have seen hundreds, maybe thousands of Covid-19 patients being under my care. I am happy to say almost 100 per cent got to be discharged home well.

But not nowadays. The Emergency Departments are full. Patients are queuing up just to get a bed.

Our staff can’t handle this. While we have arranged schedules so that doctors can participate in the strike, we still have removed a number of workers from the existing workforce. And I am worried for my mental health today on July 26.

I have so far managed to prevent myself from having a breakdown during work, but with fewer doctors, this means more work for myself and those who remain. Seeing patients, taking their blood pressure, taking their bloods, doing all paperwork…I can’t do it alone. But I will have to if everyone takes off.

Please, I beg you, please think of us staff that you are leaving behind when you go attend the strike.

One or two hours away from the ward may be seen as “manageable” from your ringleaders, most of whom have left KKM (Ministry of Health), but only we ourselves know if we can cope.

We can keep our patients alive. Of course we can. But I will probably cry as I put face masks on my patients, when you leave the ward, because there are simply too many of them.

Our patients have to stay hungry as they wait for their food sometimes when all staff members are busy resuscitating a patient. I have no doubt they will be made to wait as well on July 26 because we will be severely short-staffed.

While I fully support you expressing our voice to the government, please think of us when you go for it.

Dr Tango is the pseudonym of a doctor working in a Klang Valley hospital. CodeBlue is publishing this letter anonymously due to the government’s gag order on health care workers.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.
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