KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 – Several trainee doctors have alleged an atrocious bullying culture in Penang Hospital, describing the public health care facility as the “worst hospital” for housemanship practice.
Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported a few horrible experiences of some anonymous former and current house officers, who claimed to have undergone bullying and verbal abuse, including racial remarks by their senior counterparts in Penang Hospital.
Most of the interviewees reportedly described the training period for housemen in the Ministry of Health (MOH) facility as “a baptism of fire”.
A former houseman narrated that house officers deemed “weak” were “preyed” upon by “malignant” medical officers, who are their immediate superiors.
“One doctor said I was hopeless and told me to go to the highest floor and jump off the building,” the ex-houseman told FMT.
“When I said my life was more precious, and I won’t take my life, I had my stay in that department extended for two more months.”
The former trainee doctor also alleged racist remarks from medical officers at Penang Hospital.
“I was asked to go back to tapping rubber, while the Malays were told to go back to the sawah (padi fields). I was depressed. We were made to work 18 hours straight.
“When those badly affected sought psychiatric help, they were made fun of and labelled as ‘mad’,” he told FMT.
Another houseman told FMT that he was blamed by his superior for the death of a patient and labelled a “murderer”.
According to the Guidebook for House Officers by the Malaysian Medical Council, a house officer is not allowed to endorse or certify the death of a patient and death certification is not the responsibility of a houseman.
“When the superior declares the cause of death, the patient’s medical records have to be filled and the relatives of the patient to be informed. Without a postmortem examination, defining cause of death is based on your professional judgement,” the guidebook stated.
It is important to note that yesterday, the Penang state health department confirmed that a house officer attached to Penang Hospital fell to his death outside his residence last month. Another houseman who quit Penang Hospital reportedly died in December 2020, sparking claims of a culture of bullying of trainee doctors.
Although the case is still under police investigation, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, who chairs the Parliament special select committee on health, science and innovation, had asked Penang Hospital management to take responsibility for the death of the junior doctor.