I read with rage when I saw the headline that a two year old boy was denied treatment at two government clinics and a hospital because the pants his mother and aunty wore was too short. Fellow Malaysians read with rage too of such stupidity of the incident.
The boy who cut his finger last Saturday was rushed to the 1 Malaysia clinics in Saleng, Bandar Indahpura Kulai and the Kulai Hospital. However the boy didn’t get proper treatment from these three public health care institutions and were finally given treatment at a nearby private clinic. The boy’s father, Wong Xiang Lan was quoted as saying that: “My son was crying aloud at that time, so a nurse gave my wife a sarong and let her in.”
After reading the article, I thought for a while. Something is wrong. My earlier rage was not even necessary but like fellow Malaysians, the sensory image of the headline that crept in before the finer prints had left a damming few seconds of impressions to me.
There is a mismatch of information in the whole report, I said to myself.
The mother of the child claimed she was denied entry because of her attire but was later admitted after donning a sarong. However, she left two hours later when her son was not given proper treatment. Whether it is proper or improper treatment, the fact is that the boy was given treatment. It is actually hard to judge whether a treatment given is proper or improper, depending on the treatment given by a medical personnel and the interpretation of the person receiving the care. Hence, the headline is actually misleading. DENIED TREATMENT means the boy did not get any treatment but truth should be IMPROPER TREATMENT.
There is a big divide between DENIED and IMPROPER, and this is what that stir up the emotions of the readers. At time like this, we do not need the media to spin to headlines to create an even more distrust between the public and the government, and in this instance, it involved all government run institutions from the clinics to the police force and finally, zooming in on civil servants themselves.
On the other hand, dress codes should not be imposed in government clinics and hospitals for family members who bring in sick or injured patient. The duty of the medical personnel is to treat the patients and not to look at the legs or arms or even shoulders of those who accompanied the patient. When faced with a medical emergency, the first thing in the mind of everyone is where is the nearest hospital or clinic and to rush the person there or to be there. Having the right attire would not even make it to secondary thought or plainly, won't cross the mind at all.
Thankfully that the incident involving the little boy did not develop into something more complicated, otherwise, who is to blame? The security guard following the “brainless” instruction from moral police up there or the mother who forget to don a proper attire before rushing her precious son to get medical treatment?
Minister Subramaniam and Minister Salleh Said Keruak, can you two please look into this matter? Small it may sound to you but underneath it reverberate two big issues about sensational journalism and public opinion about government institutions and its servants.