Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fever Fever Fever

To all my readers, thank you for nominating this blog for The 2006 Asian Blog Awards (Malaysian Category): pai seh pai seh, this blog won't win, but if it did I will throw a big party in Kuching. And you're invited!

HUAT-SIYO n. fever

Another question for Sisuahlai.

Dear Sisuahlai,

How are you? Can you help me? I went to see my doctor and was charged RM40 for what he said was "simple flu". I went home with a bag of panadol and vitamin C. Have I paid the right price?

M------, Kuching.


Dear M.,

Quite honestly, I don't know why you saw the doctor in the first place. Maybe it was a frigtening season of kids falling ill, and some got admitted to hospital from a nasty virus. But I assume you are not under the age of 10, and therefore unlikely to have hand, foot and mouth disease.

If everyone pays to see the doctor for simple fever or a running nose, you will not only put the doctors' children through college and most probably churn out another doctor, but you are likely to be doing a disservice to the ill community. If a clinic is overwhelmed with trivial ailments, the likelihood of missing a more serious condition is much greater. (I am prepared to argue this point if any doctors disagree with me.)

RM40 (USD12) is a lot of money for a bag of panadol/paracetamol and vitamin C. But I do not disagree with this fee, because you are effectively wasting the doctor's time and therefore paying the fine. You are paying an amount equivalent of 0.001% of Malaysian per capita. A busy clinic sees 100 of such "trivial" cases per day, so a doctor needs only to work 10 days to accumulate a year's money of an average Malaysian worker. Is it any wonder then that your doctor is a rich man?

Empowered by the knowledge that you are not likely to fatally succumb from simple flu symptoms, are you still going to queue up to pay RM40 for panadol and vitamin C? Well, this is another matter if your company is paying your medical fee or you regard RM40 is cheap for 2 days sick-note.

Now, when is a simple flu symptoms not so simple (i.e when should you see a doctor)? This guide is intended for adults like M-----. Not for anyone under 16.

Symptoms that last for more than 10 days
Ear-ache or drainage from your ear
Severe pain in your face or forehead
Temperature above 102°F or 38°C
Shortness of breath
Hoarseness, sore throat or a cough that won't go away

Flu complications usually appear after you start feeling better. After a brief period of improvement, you may suddenly get these symptoms:

Persistent high fever
Shaking chills
Chest pain with each breath
Coughing that produces thick, yellow-greenish-coloured mucus

These could be signs of pneumonia (bacterial lung infection). Now this can be very serious and sometimes life-threatening. If you have any of these symptoms, you must see your doctor.

Going back to M's question: has he paid the right price? No. He should have paid more if indeed it was simple flu, because he didn't need to see the doctor in the first place!

You know you can be smarter than your doctor!

Sisuahlai.

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9 Comments:

Blogger robin said...

hey...
i grew up in a lower end family... so when i was young, if i do fall sick.. fever, flu, serious or not.. my parents would avoid sending me to doctors. panadols were often used as medication if I fell ill.
I guess like u said, it was not necessary for the visits and i do agree it would be a waste of doctors time.

June 15, 2006 4:04 AM  
Anonymous aj said...

For a minute, I thought SSL HUAT-SIYO 'cos of World Cup... :p

June 15, 2006 6:03 AM  
Blogger suanie said...

you think?

I paid RM70 for a doctor to come tell me everything is ok.

June 15, 2006 8:30 AM  
Anonymous AJ said...

Yeehah! Congrats on your nomination! (Dancing to the music "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley at SSL's big party) :D

June 15, 2006 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Hijackqueen said...

If I'm sick, I'll see a doc. Can claim company wat. But if kids sick, I'll be the doctor lo. Even my paediatrician told me. If fever more than 4 days only come and see me. Before that take paracetamol first.

June 15, 2006 12:34 PM  
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