Sunday, 17 March 2019

Comment: TCM as part of SG's Healthcare

A TCM practitioner caused a man to have his leg amputated due to the treatment he applied (a heat lamp, which is NOT TCM, no?)

For that malpractice, he was fined $5000 and suspended for 3 years.

This was a comment on Facebook:
Practitioner caused patient to lose a leg - $5000 fineDoctor got duped by imposter into disclosing medical information - $50,000 fineDoctor did not warn patient of side effect of steroid injection, patient suffered more pain and inflammation but did not lose any limbs - $100,000 fine 
Wow this is mind-blowing!

The comment was referring, I believe, to the disclosure of identities of persons with HIV, and the punishment to a doctor for a rare side effect to a patient for a steroid treatment.

I have two comments on this, in the first place, a TCM practitioner is not the equivalent of a doctor, at least not in terms of earning potential. TCM is usually resorted to by the lower income, and for which TCM practitioners often provide very affordable and sometimes even free treatment and service. Thus a $5000 fine could be crippling to the TCM practitioner.

The two doctors who were punished more severely, I have two views. For the steroid side effect case, I agree with the medical community who felt that the sanction was too harsh and unjust. The side effect was rare and unusual and not reasonably foreseeable. And the doctor could not have reasonably expect or foresee that the patient would suffer those side effects, which were temporary.

For the breach of privacy and confidentiality, that doctor acted immorally, and unethically, and should be punished to the full extent of the law. That he was NOT the primary perpetrator of the breach (disclosing the identity of the HIV patients) is no excuse. He should have protected the data in the first place.

In other words, a $5000 fine for either of the two doctors would have been insignificant. Even $50,000 for a practicing doctor may not be significant.

As to whether the steroid side effect warranted a punishment of $100,000, that is one question. If it did warrant such a punishment, then based on the reaction of the medical community (i.e. other doctors) it was significant.

The other comment is regarding the role of TCM in our healthcare.

Singapore is on the whole secular, rational, and pragmatic and does not give credence to "alternative medicine".

So why did SG recognise TCM and even allow (registered) TCM practitioners to issue Medical Certificates (MC) to excuse one from work?

The simple fact of the matter is that for most common and usual ailments, there is NO NEED for medical intervention. The body is immensely capable of healing itself given time, nutrition, and rest.

However, being a modern society, most citizens of a metropolis like Singapore are wimps. Or attention-seeking. Or need to feel that they are doing something to get the best care for their ailments.

They need professional help.

You know what I mean.

So they seek out a doctor. Maybe they really want to get better fast.

Or they just want an MC.

And doctors find themselves pandering to the MC-seekers/attention-seekers/and time-wasters.

And wonder if perhaps they should have listen to their parents and became a lawyer. (Although some parents might have pushed them to be doctors).

The point is, most visits to a GP are unnecessary. But try telling that to the wimp with the worst flu he has ever had (since the last one)!

So... rather than let a wimp with a need for attention to take up the time of a doctor who has been rigorously and expensively trained, Singapore allows TCM practitioners (who are often as highly regarded by the traditional Chinese) to pander, I mean "treat" these wimps.

And they feel better.

(Google "placebo effect").

TCM treatments may NOT be efficacious, but they usually do no harm. And the placebo effect allows the body time to do its magic.

And it relieves a burden off the highly trained and expensive medical doctors.

No comments: